TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Oct. 4) announced that it will loosen epidemic prevention regulations for restaurants starting Tuesday (Oct. 5).
CECC Spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the local outbreak remains under control despite large crowds during Mid-Autumn Festival two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said the Ministry of Health and Welfare has revised its epidemic prevention requirements for restaurants.
Starting on Oct. 5, Wu said restaurants will no longer need partitions on tables or have to enforce social distancing of 1.5 meters, while toasting tables with alcohol or tea will again be allowed.
However, Wu added that social interactions such as these should be kept to a minimum. The rules on the serving of dishes at tables and in buffet lines will also be relaxed, with specific staff members no longer required to serve buffet customers dishes or allocate portions.
Wu said diners must wear masks when leaving their table and toasting guests at other tables. Deputy CECC chief Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) also stressed that diners should wear masks when they leave their seats and suggested that "there are many ways to honor someone, the key point is that you are expressing gratitude."
When asked by a member of the media if this means that politicians can start toasting people on the campaign trail, Chen said elections are not until the end of next year. He added politicians and public officials should lead by example when it comes to following epidemic prevention measures.