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Masks mandatory in Taiwan's KTVs starting Dec. 1

Masks required in common areas of KTVs and while singing with strangers

(Internet image)

(Internet image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (Nov. 19) explained its KTV guidelines, which will into effect on Dec. 1.

As part of the CECC's strict new measures to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus during fall and winter, masks will be mandatory in eight categories of places: healthcare facilities, public transportation, places of consumption, places of learning, sports and exhibition venues, entertainment venues, houses of worship, and offices and business venues. Those who fail to wear a mask in these contexts and do not heed requests to do so will face a fine of between NT$3,000 (US$105) and NT$15,000 for violating the "Communicable Disease Control Act" (傳染病防治法).

Among the types of locations listed under entertainment venues is KTV bars, prompting many Taiwanese netizens to complain that singing with a mask on would ruin one of the country's most popular pastimes. During a press briefing on Thursday (Nov. 19), a reporter asked CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) whether masks would have to be worn at all times in entertainment venues without exception.

Citing KTVs as an example, Chuang responded by saying that a mask must be worn when entering the lobby of a KTV bar, where there are large numbers of strangers. However, once a person enters their room, and if only relatives or regularly seen friends are inside, they can "relax a little" and take the masks off.

In the event that there are strangers in the room, masks must be worn, said Chuang. He reiterated that in common areas of the establishment, such as lounges and lobbies, must be worn.

When announcing the eight types of venues on Wednesday, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that if there is a need to eat or drink in these settings, masks can be temporarily removed on the condition that a proper social distance is maintained or appropriate barrier equipment is in place. He did not elaborate on how the mask rule would be enforced in such locales other than saying that "If you don't wear masks indoors, you will be punished."

The following is the complete list of entertainment venues where masks will be required beginning on Dec. 1:

Cruise ships, bars, KTVs, hostess clubs, dance halls, MTV clubs, night clubs, massage parlors, fitness centers, spas, pool halls, bowling allies, and video game arcades.