TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As part of its strict new measures to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus during autumn and winter, the CECC on Wednesday (Nov. 18) announced that face masks must be worn in eight categories of venues starting next month.
During his weekly press conference Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that starting on Dec. 1, masks will be mandatory in eight categories of places, including medical facilities, mass transit, "places of consumption," educational institutions, exhibitions and athletic centers, entertainment and leisure venues, houses of worship, and "business venues." Chen said that those who fail to wear masks in these contexts and do not heed requests to do so will face fines of between NT$3,000 (US$105) and NT$15,000 for violating the "Communicable Disease Control Act" (傳染病防治法).
Chen explained that there is a high risk of infection and transmission in the above places, as it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close contact with others. Therefore, the masks can not only help prevent COVID-19 but also protect against other kinds of diseases transmitted by droplets.
If there is a need to eat or drink in the above settings, masks can be temporarily removed on the condition that a proper social distance is maintained or that appropriate barrier equipment is in place. In the case of outdoor venues where large crowds gather or at large-scale public outdoor events, the CECC advises the proprietors and management of such locales to manage and control crowds based on the total number of people.
The CECC outlined the eight categories:
1. Medical care facilities
Hospitals, clinics, and other facilities where large numbers of patients are kept in tight quarters indoors
2. Mass transit
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR), Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), mass rapid transit (MRT), and other public transportation systems
3. Places of personal consumption
Malls, shopping centers, supermarkets, and other areas where consumers congregate, with the exception of restaurants.
4. Educational institutions
Libraries, community colleges, training programs, and study centers, with the exception of K-12 schools and cram schools
5. Exhibitions and athletic centers
Cinemas, stadiums, gymnasiums, activity centers, performance venues, art galleries, museums, indoor skating rinks, indoor swimming pools, amusement parks, and children’s playgrounds
6. Entertainment and leisure venues
Cruise ships, bars, karaoke bars, dance halls, night clubs, fitness centers, pool halls, bowling allies, and video game arcades
7. Houses of worship
Temples, churches, and funeral homes
8. Business venues
Banks, insurance companies, credit cooperatives, and post offices