Some Covid-19 restrictions will be eased under the new SOP for once the vaccination rate for adults hits 90%.
In a step closer to normality, the Malaysian government has announced a new guideline or SOP for individuals who have been fully vaccinated set to be enforced from August 10. Listless from persistent lockdown, many desire a return to pre-pandemic life where simple, routine pleasures like dining out and travelling could be carried out on whims.
While evidently, we still have a long way to go before we can resume all these activities with abandon, the new SOP for now will grant some privileges to those fully vaccinated to engage in social activities. Until the main course is served, an appetiser will suffice for now as a morale booster.
To be classed as fully vaccinated, it must have been 14 days after the person has received the second dose of either the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccine. For single dose vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson or CanSino, it is 28 days after the inoculation.
What happens when the vaccination rate for adults reaches 90%?
According to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, interstate travel and tourism activities can resume when the country meets the threshold. “Tourism centres, areas and islands will be allowed to operate again and interstate travel permitted on the condition that 90% of the adults in the country have been vaccinated, based on data and analysis by the Health Ministry,” he explains.
Businesses can also operate at full capacity when all staff are fully vaccinated. As of September 21, a little over 80% of all adults have been fully vaccinated, albeit it varies between states.
Beginning October 1, spas, wellness centres and massage parlours can resume operations. This is contingent on both patrons and therapists being fully vaccinated. Attractions such as zoos, aquariums, fishing and dive centres, and forest parks can reopen for fully vaccinated individuals nationwide.
Nonetheless, states under various phases of the National Recovery Plan must observe respective SOPs.
September 17 SOPs
Restrictions will be eased further from September 17 onwards. For states under phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan (as of writing, they are Johor and Kedah), photography shops and services; used items shops; nurseries and florists, souvenirs and crafts; antique shops, toy shops, carpet shops; creative content and equipment shops; outdoor shops, cosmetic shops, as well as tobacco shops including outlets selling vapes and electronic cigarettes, can resume operations provided they meet vaccination conditions.
Economic sectors in states and territories under phase 2 (comprising the Klang Valley, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Pahang, Malacca and Sabah as of writing) can now operate at 60% capacity, if 40% of their employees are fully vaccinated; 80% if 60% are fully vaccinated; and 100% if 80% are fully inoculated.
Face-to-face meetings are allowed for individuals who have been fully vaccinated in states and territories under phase 2, 3 and 4. Sports and recreational activities with physical contact such as football get the go-ahead for both indoor and outdoor facilities, provided participants are fully vaccinated.
If you miss embarking on cruises, you will be pleased to hear that ships are allowed to set sail at 50% capacity. All passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated.
September 16 SOPs
Good news for fully vaccinated individuals entering Sarawak as the Bornean state eliminates mandatory quarantine upon arrival for those arriving from other parts of Malaysia effective Malaysia Day. Nevertheless, there is a set of procedures for you to follow. According to The Star, individuals must apply for entry via the EnterSarawak app or website, fill in the e-health declaration form and submit proof of your vaccination status. You must also provide a negative result from a PCR test (screening available at health facilities) within three days before travel. Mandatory quarantine is still required for overseas arrivals.
September 10 SOPs
According to a Malaysiakini report, the Klang Valley will transition into phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan on September 10. Fully vaccinated individuals will be able to move freely between Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya.
September 9 SOPs
Delivered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on September 7, the entertainment section can resume operations beginning September 9 in states and territories under phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan. As of writing, these areas encompass Kedah, Johor, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Applicable to fully vaccinated individuals, they can partake in activities such as indoor busking and hotel lounge performances either as performers or audiences, and going to the cinemas, which will be capped at 50% capacity. On the other hand, for live performance arts such as theatres, comedy shows and musicals, the capacity is limited to 30% and pre-booking is required. The same criteria are also applicable to museums and art galleries.
In addition, cinemas can reopen their doors in all states. As reported by The Star, cinema operators are taking a wait-and-see approach pending proper SOPs. GSC and TGV have confirmed they won’t reopen on September 9.
September 4 SOPs
On September 4, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan will move into phase 2 and phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan respectively. This leaves only Kedah, Johor, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya as the only states and federal territories under the more restrictive phase 1, albeit fully vaccinated individuals receive a special dispensation.
Interstate and inter-district travel is prohibited in phase 2, while operating hours of restaurants span 6am and 10pm.
All economic activities are allowed to resume in phase 3, with the exception of spas, pedicure and manicure services, pubs and nightclubs. Interstate travel remains out of bounds, but travelling between districts is allowed. Dine-in at restaurants is allowed, limited to two people per table. Beauty salons can resume operations.
August 20 SOPs
Caretaker Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivered a new guideline on August 19, specifically addressed to states and territories under phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan. As of writing, they encompass Kedah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor and Putrajaya.
Fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to dine in at restaurants beginning August 20. Patrons are required to present their digital vaccine certificates in the MySejahtera app. If both parents are fully vaccinated, they are also allowed to dine in with their children under the age of 17 years old. Restaurants and cafes can reopen to cater to these individuals.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated individuals will be able to partake in recreational and sporting activities including fishing, hiking, camping, cycling, golfing and singles badminton and table tennis.
In addition, fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to travel in their vehicles at full capacity, superseding the rule where only 2 people are allowed in the same vehicle. The latter, however, still applies to those who don’t meet the vaccination criterion. Although fully vaccinated individuals can travel over 10km from their homes, inter-district travel is still forbidden.
August 16 SOPs
Separately, some businesses and services under phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan will be allowed to resume operations on August 16. These include car wash; retail outlets of electrical and electronic goods, home and kitchen appliances, furniture, sports equipment and car accessories; car dealerships; sales centres; wet markets and farmers markets; and jewellery stores. While hair salons will reopen, they will be limited to offering basic hair cuts.
Patrons must be fully vaccinated and adhere to set rules and requirements, which shall be conveyed at a later time.
On the other hand, business activities allowed to resume under phase 2 include retail outlets of photography, used goods, souvenirs and craft, antiques, toys, carpets, outdoor equipment, tobacco, and cosmetics. Nurseries and shops catering to creative industries also receive the go-ahead.
August 10 SOPs
Travellers returning or coming to Malaysia will be allowed to complete their self-quarantine at home. This of course is contingent on whether they own a home. For married couples who have been living apart due district and state border closures, they will be allowed to meet. The same applies to parents with children under the age of 18. You are required to present your digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate in the MySejahtera app to the authorities at check points.
Meanwhile, for states under the second phase and beyond in the National Recovery Plan (as of writing, they encompass Perlis, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak), fully vaccinated denizens will be afforded greater freedom. This includes inter-district travel, dine-in at restaurants and sports activities.
From 6am to 10pm, sports and recreational activities requiring no physical contact, such as jogging, exercising, tai chi, cycling, skateboarding, fishing, equestrian, archery, hiking, singles tennis and badminton and golf, will be allowed at outdoor and half-indoor areas.
Intrastate tourism will resume with hotels and homestays open for business.
For those of us confined to Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, Malacca and Putrajaya, we shall remain hopeful. With greater vaccination well underway, things will soon work in our favour. Over 70% of the population in the Klang Valley have received at least one dose as of August 2, while nationally, close to 45% have received their first doses.
Criteria specified in the National Recovery Plan have been changed. According to Coordinating Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, the number of new Covid-19 cases with serious symptoms will be used as a new indicator for the transition into phases 2 and 3. Perlis, Labuan and parts of Sarawak have transitioned into phase 3.
Hero and feature images by Ethan Hu on Unsplash