Wednesday 18 March 2020
Food takeaway, delivery and drive-through options in Malaysia during the Movement Control Order. Photo: Pexels

The Movement Control Order (MCO) has officially started in Malaysia on 18 March 2020. Lasting till 31 March 2020, the Order dictates the public to minimise movement to help flatten the curve of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia. Major establishments and social events are ordered to cease operations, and the public is urged to stay in at home and only head out when necessary.

A partial lockdown like this makes sense, as restricted contact between individuals would mean reduced transmission possibilities.

But, being the food-loving folks that we are, we’re sure there’s one question that pops into mind: what are we going to do about food during this restricted period?

Don’t worry, you won’t starve. Here’s why:

Are restaurants still open?

Yes, they are – though, you won’t be able to dine in. Restaurants, bakeries and even kopitiams (hawker stalls) are essentially still in operation, but only for takeaways, as well as deliveries. The latter can be done through Delivery Partners such as GrabFood, FoodPanda or Delivereats, and eateries such as McDonald’s and KFC have their own designated delivery arm.

However, do note that because Malaysia is in the second phase of their MCO, restaurants and food delivery services are only allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm.

What about food courts or restaurants based inside malls – would they be open?

Again, yes, these eateries would still be open and operational even if they reside within malls. But the same rules apply: they only allow takeaways and deliveries for their items.

Also, fun fact: only businesses that provide food, daily necessities, and are linked or involved with pharmaceutical services are allowed to operate in malls.

So, we can still get our favourite meals during the MCO then?

Yes! However, some eateries have made slight changes to their menu, or are just offering a limited food items for takeaway and deliveries. Opening hours might also differ.

The best thing to do is to drop the restaurant a line or get their social media profiles. Chances are that they will make said information – along with their menus – known to all.

Okay, but not every restaurant is open and what if I don’t like the ones that are?

Then, dear reader, you have the option of whipping up a meal on your own. Simply pick up a recipe you’re keen on, grab the needed ingredients and groceries from the store, and channel your inner Nigella Lawson in the kitchen.

Wait up – so grocery stores would still be open?

Yes, grocery stores are still open during the implemented Movement Control Operation in Malaysia.

In fact, it’s not just grocery stores but stores that generally supply daily necessities will still be up and running.

This means convenience stores such as myNEWS and baking goods suppliers like Bake With Yuan are still open.

Whether it is pasta and meat for dinner, snacks for when you’re bingeing Netflix shows, or some ingredients for an amazing apple pie – you can still get them at the stores. So, really, there is no need to bulk buy at all. 

However, do note that opening hours might differ for some of these stores. So, again, best to check their social media pages to be sure.

You can also get groceries delivered to you as stores like Tesco and Jaya Grocer offer these services.

But if you do prefer to head out and grab them on your own, just be sure to practice safe hygiene and sanitising habits when you go out to get that done.

And how about drinks? What if I run out of wine and whisky after the first week?

That’s what the wine section in the grocery stores are for. Also, certain establishments such as, Puro and Wholly Spirits offer delivery options for drinks during this time. So rest assure that your alcoholic needs will also be sorted.

So, stay in and stay safe – together, we can help better the situation.