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Taiwan's national parks to open from July 13, beaches to remain closed

National scenic areas, amusement parks, leisure farms, forest recreation areas to open on July 13

Zhuilu Old Road in Taroko National Park. (Taroko National Park photo)

Zhuilu Old Road in Taroko National Park. (Taroko National Park photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (July 8) announced that the Level 3 alert will be extended to July 26, but restrictions in many sectors will be relaxed, including national parks, though beaches will remain off-limits.

At a press briefing on Thursday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that although case numbers have steadily dropped, there is still the possibility of local infections, and for this reason, the country's Level 3 alert will continue until July 26. However, the center has decided to relax restrictions in some sectors, such as national parks, museums, movie theaters, sports centers, restaurants, and small group tours, starting July 13.

Chen stressed that the primary restrictions will remain in place, including the wearing of masks at all times outside one's home and the five-person limit on indoor gatherings and 10-person limit on outdoor gatherings. Venue operators must ensure real-name registration and access as well as crowd control, while participants must maintain proper social distancing.

Among the venues that will open on July 13 are outdoor areas, including national parks, national scenic areas, amusement parks, leisure farms, forest recreation areas, botanical gardens, cultural parks, school playgrounds, and driving classes. Deputy CECC chief Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) said that in order to limit the size of crowds, parking lots at these locations will be limited to 40 percent of the original capacity.

The flow of people at these sites will also be restricted, and indoor spaces such as mountain lodges will remain closed. However, Chen said visitors can stay in small log cabins as long as no more than four people are in them at a time.

However, Chen said ecological preserves and all beaches in Kenting National Park will remain closed indefinitely. The CECC later clarified that water activities at all scenic areas in the country will continue to be banned.