Masks can come off indoors now


KUALA LUMPUR: It’s no longer a must to put on a face mask in any enclosed area in Malaysia, except in public transportation and medical facilities.

“The use of face masks indoors is now optional. This takes immediate effect,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told a press conference yesterday.

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However, property owners have the discretion to enforce a face mask requirement on visitors.

“If the owners of the premises decide to impose a face mask ruling on patrons, the visitors must abide by it. The owners have the right to refuse entry for those who do not comply,” said Khairy.

Playing it safe: A group of shoppers without masks (left) about to enter the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, while those leaving have them on. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The StarPlaying it safe: A group of shoppers without masks (left) about to enter the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, while those leaving have them on. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

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He said the easing of one of the key Covid-19 restrictions was due to the country’s improving pandemic situation.

“Throughout Malaysia’s transition into endemicity, economic and social activities have been allowed to resume while borders have reopened,” he added.

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“Despite the easing of many restrictions, the public’s increasing understanding on the importance of personal healthcare has allowed this transition to run smoothly.

“As a result, the country recorded a solid growth of 8.9% in its gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of this year.”

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Khairy said hospital admissions for Covid-19 cases was low, with nationwide use of beds for non-critical cases at 21% and 19% for intensive care units as of Sept 6.

Malaysia made it mandatory for the public to wear face masks on Aug 1, 2020.

After the country announced the transition to endemicity this year, the requirement for face masks outdoors was removed on May 1.

Khairy said the use of face masks would only be compulsory on public transportation such as buses, trains, planes, taxis and ehailing vehicles.

However, the requirement will remain in place at hospitals and medical institutions.

While mask use indoors is optional, Khairy said the ministry still encouraged face masks to be worn in crowded areas like night markets, stadiums, shopping malls and places of worship.

“People should continue wearing face masks as it can reduce the spread of the virus.

“High-risk individuals such as the elderly, pregnant women, as well as those with chronic diseases or with low immunity are also encouraged to continue wearing face masks,” he said.

“Individuals doing activities with high-risk groups like the elderly and children are also advised to put on face masks,” added Khairy.

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