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Taiwan to further relax COVID mask rules for sports activities

Activities related to people’s wellbeing will be prioritized in easing mask rules

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A jogger wears a mask to prevent COVID-19 in Taipei. 

A jogger wears a mask to prevent COVID-19 in Taipei.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The head of Taiwan’s coronavirus task force on Wednesday (Oct. 6) hinted at loosening mask regulations for sports-related activities as the country gradually opens up.

Beginning Tuesday (Oct. 5), masks are no longer mandatory in spacious outdoor environments, including mountains, forests, farm fields, fishponds, and beaches. People in Taiwan are still asked to keep a mask at hand if they find social distancing difficult to observe.

Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head and health minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) noted that sports and exercise will be the next area where masks are not required. Any decision to lift mask restrictions will prioritize people’s wellbeing, reported UDN.

Many people have urged for the right to jog mask-free at riverbanks, as they crave a return to a normal life. Chen has implied the CECC will make masks optional in sports involving no contact with others.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will soon allow non-reserved seating on High Speed Rail trains as it scales back COVID curbs. Still, Chen insists places such as nightclubs, host or hostess clubs, and massage parlors be closed despite recreational venues like KTV parlors having been allowed to resume operations conditionally, per CNA.

Taiwan is opening up cautiously with Level 2 restrictions in place until at least Oct. 18. The country has recorded zero or single-digit local cases since Aug. 30.