All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2.
The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place.
Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments said that they would keep the ban in place, citing concerns over hidden chains of transmission.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that he and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) discussed the situation on the phone, and they agreed that there might still be undetected cases in the two cities.
The full reopening of restaurants would therefore be postponed in the two cities, he said.
However, Taipei would generally follow the center’s guidelines on easing disease prevention rules, Ko said, adding that city officials would observe the COVID-19 situation for another week before deciding on further relaxations.
Hou said that dine-in services at all venues in New Taipei City, including restaurants, food courts and convenince stores, as well as banquets, would still be banned.
New Taipei City’s daily confirmed cases in May increased from a single digit to three digits within four days, Hou said, adding that it took four weeks to bring case numbers down.
The city would therefore ease restrictions very slowly, and activities that require masks to be taken off would be the last to resume, he said.
Outdoor water activities, including surfing, diving and swimming, would still be banned, as well as the operation of claw-machine shops, Hou said.
However, preschools and after-school childcare centers would be conditionally allowed to reopen, he said, adding that the city might soon also allow cram schools to reopen, on the condition that COVID-19 prevention measures are observed.
Meanwhile, Kaohsiung and Tainan announced that they would conditionally allow dining at restaurants, while eating while walking and food sampling would remain banned.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that night market vendors and food stall operators at other markets should continue focusing on takeout and delivery services, but dining at the venues would in principle be allowed, as long as disease prevention measures are in place.
That would include seating people at least 1.5m apart and installing dividers on three sides of each seat, Chen said.
Wedding banquets should still be postponed, but if they must be held, banquet operators must implement the same rules as restaurants offering dine-in services, he said.
As Kaohsiung had been the only city to keep a ban on gyms after Tuesday last week, Chen said that gyms would now be allowed to conditionally reopen.
However, gyms would not be allowed to open their swimming pools, saunas, showers, or offer aerobics or spinning class, he said, adding that residents of other cities or counties would not be allowed to visit gyms in Kaohsiung.
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) on Friday said that dining at restaurants would be allowed, as Taoyuan is following CECC guidelines.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) yesterday said that dining at restaurants would be allowed under the conditions that the CECC’s disease prevention guidelines are implemented and restaurants inform people of their maximum capacity.
All other local governments said that they would allow dining at restaurants under conditions given in the center’s guidelines.
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