Country abuzz with festive night stalls

James Kon & Aziz Idris

The annual night stalls or perayaan in conjunction with the 74th birthday celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam began last night amid strict social-distancing measures.

Some 60 vendors were allowed to operate within the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien and along a section of Jalan Pretty and a dozen more tents were set up at the car park area in Jalan Bendahara.

In the Temburong District, heavy rain in the afternoon did not dampen spirits as visitors flocked to the festive stalls for the 74th birthday celebration of His Majesty at the Temburong Civic Centre field.

Vendor Norimawati binti Abdul Rahman said, “For this year, we have to practise social distancing and vendors must wear face masks and gloves. There are measures to avoid crowding to curb the spread of COVID-19. We must also practise hygiene by frequently washing our hands or use hand sanitiser.”

In Tuesday night’s titah, His Majesty named the Temburong Bridge as Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge. Norimawati said, “We would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to His Majesty on naming the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge.

“With the bridge, we are able to travel with ease to Bandar Seri Begawan without having to cross the border to our neighbouring country.”

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show the public at the perayaan in the capital while adhering to social distancing measures. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Vendor Mahzuni bin Lamudin at his stall in the Temburong District. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
Norimawati binti Abdul Rahman with her family members at their stall

Vendor Mahzuni bin Lamudin expressed his gratitude to His Majesty for allowing vendors in the Temburong District to carry out their business during His Majesty’s 74th birthday celebrations.

On the naming of the bridge, Mahzuni said, “We are very grateful to His Majesty for naming the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge. The bridge has given the people of Temburong great convenience of travel to Bandar Seri Begawan.”

This year’s stalls were organised differently from previous years as the public has to adhere to strict COVID-19 measures.

Visitors must scan the BruHealth QR code and have their temperature checked before entering the venue. Visitors are also reminded to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Stalls were separated with markings to allow for social distancing. There were also markings for visitors to queue.

Tents are kept two-metre distance between each other to avoid crowding. The numbers of stalls is only about half compared to previous years.

Screening checkpoints were set up where visitors are required to scan the BruHealth QR code.

The Municipal Department and District Office urged the public to adhere to stringent measures to guard against COVID-19 transmission while visiting the stalls.

Visitors to stalls must always comply with social distancing guidelines and instructions imposed by the government. Those who are unwell and with symptoms of infection are advised not to visit the stalls.

The regulations also require stall vendors and their employees to use face masks while preparing any food or beverages, and to stay at home if feeling unwell.

Vendors must also put up markers for social distancing and maintain standards of hygiene in their areas.