The world came to a temporary halt when the COVID-19 Pandemic struck. Billions of people were put under lockdown, borders were closed all around the world, and non-essential companies were shut down. Unable to move around, the travel industry was nearly destroyed as a result of this. Around the world, tourist destinations and well-known landmarks have shuttered their doors and are now hauntingly silent.
Unfortunately, Melaka’s Jonker Street, which was once a bustling attraction, wasn’t spared from the effects of Malaysia’s Movement Control Orders (MCOs), and lockdowns.
Malaysians were heartbroken to see pictures of restaurants and other small businesses at Jonker Street officially closing as owners put up signs to indicate that the lots are now for sale or rent. The issue was raised in a Facebook post by Malaysia Business For Sale, which highlighted several enterprises that had closed down.
These businesses are no longer able to survive due to the present lockdown, which is being extended on a daily basis owing to the ever-increasing daily COVID-19 cases. Even with the newly-announced SOPs for those who are fully vaccinated, it will take a lot for these businesses to reopen their doors again, as many have been without income for far too long.
Melaka State Executive Council Member Datuk Gan Tian Loo said that 95% of the shops at Jonker Street and those nearby have been closed for over eight months. Only five out of a hundred local businesses are still open and running normally.
During this pandemic, the tourism industry is unquestionably one of the worst-affected sectors. Given that Jonker Street is a popular tourist destination, we can’t help but feel terrible for the company owners who have struggled to stay afloat despite the clear lack of foot traffic. All we can do is hope that the pandemic will be over soon and that these enterprises will be able to get back on their feet.