Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Haji Awang Abu Bakar Haji Apong during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

All eateries nationwide including restaurants, cafes and food courts are told to suspend dine-in services effective March 19 in an effort to contain the further spread of COVID-19 in the country, announced the Minister of Home Affairs.

This was revealed by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong, during a joint press conference that was held at the Ministry of Health.

The session was also joined by the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin.

Food premises, however, are allowed to provide deliveries and takeaway services until further notice, said the minister, while announcing the temporary closure of two of Brunei’s well-known open-air markets.

A view of an empty restaurant in Kampung Delima after measures announced to curb COVID-19 spread in the country. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Weekend markets Tamu Aneka Temburong, and Tamu Besar Temburong are closed effective today until further notice,” said the minister.

“Meanwhile, Tamu Mingguan Kompleks Pasarneka and Tamu Tutong will be closed starting tomorrow and to resume operations at a later date,” he continued.

During the press conference, culture, youth and sports minister, YB Dato Hj Aminuddin Ihsan also announced the temporary closure of all sports complexes and facilities in the sultanate which include gyms, golf courses and bowling alleys.

“At the same time, there will be additional closures for museums and galleries, youth centres and all libraries under the Language and Literature Bureau,” he said.

A file photo of one of the rides at Jerudong Park Playground. Image: The Bruneian

Meanwhile, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin reported that the Jerudong Park Playground, Jerudong Park Gardens and the Jerudong Ampitheatre, will also be closing its doors for the time being,

“The temporary closure was a precautionary measure on the company’s part in helping to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 and to support the MoH’s directive to temporarily ban mass gatherings and for the public to adopt social distancing measures,” said the minister.

The Jerudong Park Food Court will operate as usual however vendors will be allowed to provide takeaway services only.

Furthermore, in light of the recent developments surrounding COVID-19 in the sultanate, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew said that the ministry has revised the operating hours of the newly opened Temburong Bridge.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Effective March 19, the mega bridge will be opened from 6am to 6pm and no longer from 6am to 10pm as was previously mentioned.

“This decision is also due to the overwhelming number of bridge users which has caused Bangar Town to be congested with vehicles as well as people visiting the town to eat.”

He added: “There are also motorcyclists who take the opportunity to race and stop on the road for no reason, which can affect the safety and well-being of other bridge users.”

“This should not occur or be taken advantage of considering the country is in the midst of a critical situation that requires strong cooperation from people of all walks of life,” he said.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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