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Taipei issues Level 2.5 COVID alert

Unvaccinated strongly discouraged from eating inside restaurants

Taipei issues Level 2.5 COVID alert

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Friday (Jan. 28) said that the city has raised the epidemic prevention alert to Level 2.5, as the number of Omicron cases of unknown origin rise across the country.

During a press conference on Friday, Ko announced that Taipei is implementing Level 2.5 measures that are "appealing" to the public to follow over the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday but that these will not be enforced through punitive means. Ko pointed out that because restaurants are a major source of COVID transmission, the new recommendations apply mainly to eateries.

For stores, Ko said that crowd control measures must be followed to ensure a social distance of 2.25 square meters can be maintained at all times. As for restaurants, the mayor emphasized that there are two main elements: employees and customers wishing to dine in must be fully vaccinated.

Ko said that restaurant owners must ensure all workers are fully vaccinated, meaning that they have received at least two doses of a COVID vaccine 14 or more days ago. In addition, they must receive a booster three months after their second dose.

When it comes to customers, Taipei is implementing a color-coded system. People who are fully vaccinated are considered to be in the green category and can eat indoors without restrictions.

Level 2.5 dining rules

  • Fully vaccinated can eat indoors.
  • Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated should order take out, home delivery, or reserve a separate room.
  • Children 12 and under can eat indoors if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.

People who have only received one dose are in the yellow grouping. Those who have not received any COVID jabs are classified as red, the highest-risk grouping.

Those who fall into the yellow or red categories are strongly advised to only order takeout or home delivery or reserve a separate room inside the restaurant.

Children aged 12 and under can eat at restaurants if the adults accompanying them are fully vaccinated.

Ko said that an upgrade of the COVID alert will be considered if average daily cases in the city exceed 10 over a week, if two cases from unknown sources of infection are detected each day in one week, or if more than three community cluster infections are reported within a single week.

The mayor suggested that the next step Taiwan should consider is making a vaccine passport mandatory to "solve many problems." He said he would prefer not to fully ban indoor dining to keep the economy operating at least 80% and called on members of the public who refuse to get vaccinated to simply not dine in restaurants.