Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Brunei Town

Muted crowds for Tamu Tutong’s return

Lyna Mohamad

Tamu Tutong’s return was met with a muted response in comparison to its usual crowds before it was temporarily closed during the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The weekly open-air market, held every Thursday, usually welcomes visitors from Brunei-Muara, Belait and the Temburong districts.

A frequent visitor of the Tamu Tutong, who had never missed her visit every Thursday while the market was in session, was surprised they had no problem finding parking space.

“It was not a usual sight, with only a small crowd coming to the tamu,” she said, adding that reasons for the quiet response might be the lack of awareness for the market’s re-opening or that public confidence to visit markets wasn’t quite there yet. The same goes with vendors who have not resumed business activities, she said.

Another visitor, who drove all the way from Kuala Belait early morning was disappointed when her favourite vendors weren’t there and went back empty handed.

She also had issue with the handling of exits and entries into the market. Since the way in was also the way out, it got congested and the queues were fairly long. “It is probably bearable for the younger visitors, but it is definitely a hassle for senior citizens,” she said.

“Some visitors just left after visiting one block as they do not want to go through the hassle.”

Stall operators were similarly disappointed as sales were below average, compared to before the temporary closure. Some came as early as 4am so they can park close their allocated stall locations. Tamu Tutong re-opened yesterday, following guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry of Health.

Both market operators and visitors were required to scan the a QR code with their BruHealth app and check their temperature before entry.

Face masks must be worn at all times and visitors were reminded to practice social distancing.

Visitors to the Tamu Tutong when it re-opened yesterday after a hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD