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COVID-19 Brunei: Bruneians flock to eateries with restrictions easing (2020)



A ‘full’ sign at a restaurant.


BY Syazwani Hj Rosli

Restaurants and cafes are now able to increase customer capacity to 80 per cent, as Brunei Darussalam enters the third phase of the de-escalation plan.

At the same time, open-air stalls are allowed to provide dining services at 100 per cent capacity, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

With more restrictions being lifted, popular eateries in Gadong, Kiulap and Serusop were busier than expected during the weekend, prompting several businesses to put up a “Full” sign on their doors and even turn customers away.

Nursyakirah binti Mohd Harris told the Bulletin, “Lately, my friends and I have been restaurant-hopping to satisfy our cravings. So far, we’ve had ambuyat, sushi, soto and shabu-shabu. It’s so nice to enjoy a meal outside the house, as opposed to getting a take-out.”

Zaki Sharif bin Haji Masri, however, wasn’t so fortunate. “Following the announcement, I tried to reserve a table at a particular restaurant, only to be told that it was full and that bookings could only be made next week. It was unbelievable,” he laughed.



ABOVE & BELOW: Some eateries are enjoying brisk business. PHOTOS: SYAZWANI HJ ROSLI

Nadira Lo, a vendor at Beribi Eats, said it would take a while for her business to recover, despite the influx of customers.

“We are trying to hold on and survive, as we are still 30 per cent behind our normal target,” she said.

“We have difficulty in sourcing supplies, especially meat. My fellow vendors are also worried about the cost of ingredients, which means increasing prices for customers.

“The move to 100 per cent capacity means that we are slowly moving towards normality, Insya Allah. I do hope that more people show up. It’s their support that helps small businesses like us to stay afloat.”

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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