So near yet so far. When it comes to being able to eat and shop in JB, that is.
Malls and businesses in Johor Bahru continue to suffer as borders between Singapore and Malaysia stay mostly shut due to Covid-19.
While reciprocal green lanes (for work trips) and periodic commuting arrangements (for those with long-term passes) have been established since Aug 10, it appears the measures are of little comfort and help to businesses.
Singaporeans or returning Malaysians make up 30 to 50 per cent of all revenue in JB, according to the president of the city's Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
As expected, F&B and entertainment industries are the hardest hit.
Photos posted on Facebook last Thursday Oct 1 show a side of JB City Square Mall that may be foreign to many Singaporeans — near-empty and devoid of crowds.
Since July, there have been reports of shops, businesses and even hotels closing due to the worsening economy.
While it's uncertain if the closures are for good or temporarily, here are some places in JB that you'll no longer be able to return to once borders reopen fully.
Puteri Pacific Hotel
Puteri Pacific hotel shuttered on Aug 30 after a 29-year history. The four-star hotel had 500 rooms and was located near to the Causeway. According to Johor Foodie, the closure was due in part to the loss of customers from Singapore.
KFC at JB Sentral, McDonald's at City Square
For those of us who have taken the KTM train across the Causeway, the KFC near the immigration checkpoint would be a familiar sight. While usually busy with customers, the space has gone dark in the last few months, though we're not sure if it will reopen once borders reopen.
A series of photos posted in July also appeared to show a quiet City Square mall on a weekend, with the space that was occupied by McDonald's boarded up.
But it can't be verified if the closure of the fast food restaurant is a permanent one.
Holiday Plaza Parkson
The three-storey Parkson department store at Holiday Plaza closed its doors for good on Oct 4. It's reportedly the first Parkson to open in JB some 35 years ago. Massive clearance sales were held in the leadup to its closure as shoppers thronged the space for the last time.
Tang Chao Tang Tea House
Tang Chao Tang Tea House (not to be confused with Singapore eatery Tang Teahouse) located at JB's City Square saw its last customers pass through its doors on Sept 18. The restaurant, which has been open for the past 20 years, is known its mini hotpots and set meals.
Singaporeans who want to have a taste of its dishes again however, can still head to their other JB outlet located at nearby R&F mall.
Cats Cafe was the first and largest cat cafe in Johor, set up in 2015 and were known for its brunch menu comprising items such as waffles and churros. They shuttered in June, with some of their cats being rehomed for a fee.
People and Places cafe
What's a Johor trip without a jaunt to explore their many cafes? Said to be one of the more popular cafes in JB with queues that often stretch for at least an hour, People and Places Cafe announced its closure in May. The garden-themed cafe that's been compared to Wheeler's Yard in Singapore has even seen the likes of Taiwanese celeb Jay Chou pop by.
But it may not be a permanent goodbye though. A recent post by the cafe's boss Soon, who also owns Routine by Soon at R&F mall, suggests that a new cool setup may be in the works.