Business owners should be left to decide
Published on: Sunday, May 10, 2020
By: Ronny
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THE Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 is preventive in nature, but the orders made thereunder, such as MCOs, are mandatory and must be obeyed, in contravention of which will attract criminal punishment. 

The Conditional MCO is relaxing the restriction, i.e., to declare certain areas in the country as being safe for the activities they were used.  Therefore other areas declared as unsafe by MCOs remains unsafe and prohibited from usage. MCO4 still applies.

Secondly, MCOs or Conditional MCO are made not politically but in accordance with the professional advice of the scientists and medical health experts. 

They are the rightful authorities who have the ability, capability and qualification to determine whether it is safe or unsafe and to what extent a certain place or areas to be open for operation or use. That’s the concept of “opening up”.

Thirdly, Conditional MCO is an order to declare certain business or commercial or industrial or other areas, including schools, sports, entertainment areas or premises in the nation are safe for operation again. 

Upon such declaration, then and only then, the State Government can apply its local Public Health Ordinance 1960 to decide, based on peculiar or individual facts on the ground whether certain areas should remain closed or whether certain areas can be open. 

As a matter of fact, business owners are perfectly free to decide whether to re-open based on their own criteria without ever infringing the Conditional MCO, if your place of business have been declared as safe for operation again. This is the principle of reopening safely and cautiously.

Finally, to reopen safely and cautiously, together with the MCOs or CMCO, strict SOPs have been given and requiring strict observance, the breach of which is an offence under the Act.  

These SOPs are solid steps to be taken by the people to ensure no loosening up of basic measures taken to fight Coronavirus until there is a vaccine or cure discovered.  

By SOPs people are let into taking part in economic recovery vigilantly, not only diligently – and this is the new norm.


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