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Malls: The New HIDE-Out Spot This Season

Malaysians have had a solemn Hari Raya, since the whole nation has been put under a movement control order (MCO). Those constraints, however, did not deter any Malaysians from searching for a loophole and sharing the happy occasion with their loved ones.

With home visits and gatherings prohibited for the duration of Aidilfitri, some families have resorted to gathering in locations that have been permitted to remain open during the new MCO: shopping malls.

According to Malaysian Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, these meetings could result in a COVID-19 virus transmission crisis, which the country does not need right now. Following his press statement on 17th May 2021, several shopping malls will be listed under the Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system after it was found that they were used for "family gatherings" during the recent Hari Raya celebrations.

New SOP to enter malls

Malaysia’s shopping malls and retail associations have responded to the press statement voicing out on their strict process of admitting shoppers with only low-risk statuses. 

The process of entering the mall has now been reversed, with gatekeepers first citing the risk status of shoppers from the MySejahtera home screen before allowing them to scan the QR code. This new entry procedure is designed to ensure only those who are considered low risk, including those who have had "casual contact, with no symptoms," can access the mall.

Members of the public in the low-risk category can still visit the malls, providing they adhere to the SOPs and comply with social distancing. Malls have no way to refrain from family outings nor have a way to determine if the individuals are part of a family group. It is not wrong for families to go out together. 

The association also said that malls have no right to stop anyone from entering the mall to shop for essential items, getting their takeaways or even meeting up with friends and families.   

Earlier this month, the first HIDE list was released, and almost all major shopping malls in the country were listed as potential COVID-19 hotspots. The malls were then ordered to close for three days for sanitisation purposes.

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