How to Keep Calm and Carry On During FMCO
When the government had announced just a few days before the implementation of the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) from 1 to 14 June 2021, this has caused many to go into panic mode and buy up lots of supplies in anticipation of the restricted movement. This is understandable since we’ve already had a similar experience around March of last year when the MCO had been implemented for the first time. Let’s take a look at why the MCO is implemented again, what’s the SOPs this time, and how we can and should keep calm and carry on.
As has been observed over the last few days, the number of daily cases of COVID-19 has been climbing sharply since April, from 1,178 cases at the beginning of April quickly increasing to more than 2,000 cases by the middle of the month, culminating in over 9,000 cases on 29 May 2021 alone. Given the alarming numbers, the government had no choice but to implement this much stricter and much harsher version of the MCO in order to flatten the curve once more. Not only that, but the government had also identified the existence of new COVID-19 variants which are more aggressive, and that’s why they have decided to implement the FMCO over three separate phases that are dependent on the performance of the previous phases.
Most Businesses Have to Close
With the exception of 17 economic and service sectors which have been identified by the government as “essential” all other sectors are not allowed to operate during the two-week period of the FMCO. This includes a vast majority of businesses, such as spas and massage centres, karaoke outlets, hair salons and barbershops, bookshops, clothes stores, sporting goods stores, flower shops, etc.
The following are the 17 sectors still allowed to operate:
- Food and beverages including for animals. All F&B outlets are allowed to operate for delivery and takeaway services only (strictly no dine-ins).
- Health and medical care including dietary supplements, animal care and clinics as well as veterinary services.
- Security and safety, defence, emergency, welfare, and humanitarian assistance.
- Solid waste management and public cleaning and sewerage.
- Transportation by land, water, or air.
- Services and operations of ports, shipyards and airport including loading, lattice transportation, cargo handling and piloting, and storage or bulk commodity.
- Communications including media, telecommunications, and internet, post, and courier as well as broadcasting (for purpose of conveying information, news and the like only)
- Banking, insurance, takaful, and capital markets.
- Community credit (mortgage only).
- E-commerce and information technology.
- Production, distillation, storage, supply and distribution of fuels and lubricants
- Hotels and accommodation (only for the purpose of quarantine, isolation, and not for tourism).
- Critical construction, maintenance, and repairs.
- Forestry services (limited to enforcement) and wildlife.
- Logistics limited to the delivery of necessary services only.
Some Markets Allowed to Open
With regards to markets, pasar tani (farmer’s markets), pasar minggu (weekend markets), pasar malam (night markets) and pasar tamu (weekly markets) are not allowed to operate. However, daily markets and wet markets are allowed to operate from 6 AM to 2 PM; Pasar Tani Kekal (Permanent Farmers’ Markets), MyFarm Outlets (MFO) and Agrobazaar are allowed to open from 6 AM to 4 PM; Pusat Operasi FAMA (FAMA Operations Centres) are allowed to open from 7 AM to noon. Wholesale markets are allowed to operate in two separate shifts from 12 midnight to 6 AM and 11 AM to 4 PM.
There are also travel limitations for those who wish to leave the house for any purpose: only two persons, including the driver, are allowed in a single vehicle at any time, including taxis and other e-hailing services. In the case of procuring health and safety services, including medical emergencies, only three persons including the driver are allowed to be in a single vehicle at a time. The above are all limited to travelling within a 10 km radius from the place of residence or the nearest location from the place of residence.
Thankfully, there is a bit of good news, as e-commerce is allowed unfettered throughout the FMCO. So for some businesses such as bookshops or flower shops, one way to mitigate their losses would be to digitise their business and start selling their goods online.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Now, with all that said, it can’t be helped that people are still worried due to all the uncertainties of the FMCO, so here are some ways to keep calm and carry on:
Minimise Your Worries
To start with, we should minimise our worries. This means we should avoid worrying about more things than we should actually be worried about. To do this, we have to focus on our immediate needs and our environment, so forget worrying about when we will be able to go on overseas trips, or whether the Malaysian economy would go south; leave aside all these matters, and reduce the amount of news you consume so that you will eventually reduce the anxiety you will have.
Distract Yourself With Self-Care Activities
It is nice to distract your anxious mind with some self-care activities once in a while. Not only will these activities take your mind off worrying for a bit, these will also benefit you in other ways. With YouTube, you can watch or listen to relaxing videos to soothe yourself, and listening to your favourite songs will also improve your mood as they trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are hormones associated with positive feelings. These hormones can also be triggered by eating comfort foods like ice cream or chocolate, but make sure to not overindulge.
Connect Over Social Media
Social media is a double-edged sword as it allows people to connect over long distances, but it is also a place where all kinds of negative things can gather. If you choose to go on social media, choose the right groups to follow so you can have a positive connection with people across the globe.
So that’s what’s going on about the FMCO now from 1 until 14 June 2021, and if phase 1 goes well, we shall soon enter phase 2 which involves the reopening of some economic sectors which do not involve large gatherings and comply with physical distancing, and after four weeks of phase 2 we shall be back to the regular MCO as we have prior to MCO 3.0, so with everybody’s cooperation, this too shall pass.
Your Gateways to Getaways,