Taiwan has extended its Level 3 COVID alert, but plans to partially lift restrictions next week. Health minister Chen Shih-chung announced the decision on Thursday, citing the easing epidemic. Starting next Tuesday, restaurants can once again offer dine-in service, although they'll have to ensure social distancing. Concert halls will be allowed to reopen, but only to performers, not audiences. In addition, tour agencies will be able to offer group tours capped at eight people. Restrictions that will remain include mandatory mask wearing, no indoor gatherings of more than five people or outdoor gatherings of more than 10.
The Level 3 alert will be extended, but some restrictions will be loosened. The criteria for lifting Level 3 are having fewer than 10 local cases with an unknown infection source, and fewer than three community clusters in a week. At present, we are right on the brink.
CECC chief Chen Shih-chung announced that the Level 3 alert will be extended two weeks to July 26, although some restrictions will be lifted in advance.
Reopening will be permitted for outdoor venues, like national parks, national scenic areas, amusement parks, leisure farms, forest recreation areas, botanical gardens, cultural parks, campus sport fields, and driving schools.
Some indoor venues can reopen, too. These include art galleries, museums, movie theaters, performance halls, Social Education Centers, and science centers.
Spectators should still not be allowed in performance venues and stadiums at this time. But some adjustments can be made based on the epidemic’s development.
The CECC chief listed more facilities allowed to reopen: sports stadiums, gyms, and professional sports grounds. But swimming pools, where masks cannot be worn at all times, will have to stay closed.
Dining-in can resume, too. Restaurants, night markets, and food courts will be allowed to seat customers once again, provided that they meet CECC guidelines. Travel agencies can also resume tours of less than nine people.
They must enforce real-name registration, entrance control and crowd control measures and seating capacity limits. Social distancing must be maintained, and masks must be worn at all times, except when eating and drinking. Local governments can make local adjustments to the reopening, based on the needs of the epidemic. Let us all try to get the Level 3 alert lifted by July 26 – that’s our true goal. Let’s work toward it together.
Local governments may restrict the reopening in response to COVID developments. In the coming weeks, striking a balance between reopening and COVID prevention will put Taiwan to the test.