KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — The government has decided that those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to dine in again in states and federal territories that have already moved on to at least Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan, the prime minister announced today.
In an announcement broadcast live on television today, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this dine-in is among benefits only for those who have fulfilled the criteria for full vaccination.
But he also advised the public to only dine in if required, and still opt to take away if possible.
States that are already in Phase Two now are Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Penang and Sabah, while those which already transited to Phase Three are Perlis, Labuan and Sarawak.
This means that those who are fully vaccinated in Phase One locations still cannot dine in.
Currently, states and federal territories still stuck in Phase One are Kedah, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
Muhyiddin however made it clear that the government’s definition of fully-vaccinated individuals is only for those who have passed a 14-day period after receiving the second dose for double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac) and those who have passed the 28th day from the day they were injected with single-dose vaccines (Johnson & Johnson and CanSino).
All the benefits announced today for fully-vaccinated individuals will kick in on August 10, which is Tuesday or just two days away, Muhyiddin announced.
Here’s everything you need to know about benefits for those fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 and living in Phase Two, Phase Three states, applicable from August 10 onwards:
1. Dine-in dos and don’ts
When announcing this highly-desired benefit, Muhyiddin remarked: “For this, everyone is interested, which is dine-in activities — eating at restaurants is allowed.”
Muhyiddin noted however dining-in poses a higher risk compared to other social activities, as the face masks would be taken off when one eats and chats with dining companions sitting at the same table and this exposes them to Covid-19 infection risks.
“In line with that, I wish to advise the public to dine in only when necessary and not take too much time. The public is also advised to take-away if the situation allows. Choose a premise that has good ventilation system and is open,” he said.
He said that those who are fully vaccinated and wish to bring their children aged 17 and below to dine in have to ensure that their children comply with tight standard operating procedures.
The prime minister also suggested that restaurant owners prepare more dine-in areas outside of building premises to ensure better ventilation, as the risk of Covid-19 virus spreading is higher indoors as compared to outside premises.
He said eatery owners must ensure that those who enter to dine in show their Covid-19 vaccination digital certificate to show that they have been fully vaccinated.
Separately, a set of infographics released today by the Malaysian government showed that such restaurants have to display a notice that it would only accept fully-vaccinated diners and that the premise owners have to display at the entrance the number of staff that have been fully vaccinated.
Additionally, premise owners have to arrange tables according to distancing requirements and ensure good ventilation systems at the premise, besides ensuring that each table is only occupied by up to 50 per cent of its usual seating capacity and have at least one metre in physical distancing, the infographics showed.
A check of the latest National Security Council’s standard operating procedures as of August 3 showed that dine in is currently not allowed at all in Phase One and Phase Two locations (although Sabah is known to have allowed dine in), while the latest Phase Three SOP as of August 4 shows that dining-in is allowed for everyone, subject to one metre distancing.
2. Tourism within state ok
Muhyiddin said fully-vaccinated individuals are allowed the benefits of staying as travellers at homestays and hotels within the same state they are in, but with such homestay and hotel operators required to ensure that individuals must show their digital certificate proving that they have received full vaccination against Covid-19.
Malay Mail’s checks of the National Security Council’s latest SOP for Phase Two states as of August 3 currently only allows hotels to operate for quarantine, essential workers and non-tourism purposes.
The latest announcement today means that those living in Phase Two states with fully vaccinated status will get to enjoy staying at hotels for tourism purposes from August 10 onwards.
Currently under the NSC’s SOP for Phase Two states as of August 3, all tourism activities are in the negative list or disallowed such as zoos, farms, aquariums, edutainment centres, extreme adventure and nature parks and theme parks.
Under the NSC’s SOP for Phase Three states as of August 4, the same tourist attractions as well as snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing tourism, and recreational parks are already allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
3. Outdoor sports allowed
Those fully vaccinated in Phase Two and Phase Three states can enjoy non-contact sports that are not group sports such as jogging, exercising, taichi, cycling, skateboarding, fishing, equestrian, archery, hiking, tennis and badminton as single players, golf, motorsports in outdoor or semi-outdoor settings from 6am to 10pm.
“The operations for changing rooms or shower room at the clubhouse premise are not allowed. This is to prevent gathering after sports and to reduce risks of infection,” he said.
Muhyiddin also said dine in is allowed at restaurants or cafes in clubhouses but again with the compulsory condition for customers to show their digital certificate of Covid-19 vaccination to premise owners.
These new benefits will again kick in on August 10.
A quick comparison by Malay Mail shows that the NSC’s SOP for the general public in Phase One states as of August 3 for the general public is that individual outdoor sports such as jogging, cycling, exercising, skateboarding and inline skating can be done near one’s residence and in the neighbourhood with at least two to three metres’ distancing from 7am to 8pm.
The NSC’s current SOP as of August 3 for the general public in Phase Two states also allows individual sports such as jogging, exercising, taichi, cycling, skateboarding, fishing, equestrian, archery, hiking, tennis as single players, golf, motorsports within 10 kilometres from ones’ residence from 6am to 10pm, while Phase Three SOPs as of August 4 allows similar sports as well as gym, swimming, jetski from 6am to 12pm for the general public.
4. Only inter-district travel ok
Muhyiddin said those fully vaccinated can travel between districts in Phase Two and Phase Three states, but must show their Covid-19 vaccination digital certificate to security personnel at roadblocks to show their fully-vaccinated status.
What is clear however is that no benefits of interstate travel were announced for fully-vaccinated individuals in Phase Two and Phase Three states. This means interstate travel is still not allowed generally (but see below).
What about fully vaccinated in Phase One states?
For fully-vaccinated individuals in Phase One states who will be missing out on the above benefits, they can still enjoy other limited benefits applicable nationwide for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The benefits for fully-vaccinated individuals for Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three states or essentially nationwide are allowing both Malaysian and foreign travellers such as permanent residents and Malaysia My Second Home individuals who have a home in Malaysia to be allowed to undergo home quarantine upon return from overseas if they have been fully vaccinated.
The Malaysian government’s infographics today additionally showed that such individuals are required to have tested negative for Covid-19 three days before departing for Malaysia and to have Covid-19 full vaccination certificates, and to have also no symptoms when screened upon arrival.
They are also required to have a place to stay that is suitable for the home quarantine, while the quarantine period would be based on the Health Ministry’s advice taking into account the risk assessment, the infographics said.
Interdistrict and interstate travel is allowed nationwide in limited situations for fully-vaccinated individuals, namely long-distance married couples who are fully vaccinated and wish to meet their spouse, and fully-vaccinated parents who want to meet their children aged 18 and below.
Additional infographics released by the Malaysian government today showed that such interdistrict and interstate travel would require police approval, with those who wish to apply for such approval letters required to produce copies of the parents’ identity cards and the child’s birth certificate, copies of the Covid-19 digital certificate of the parents or guardian, and the child’s schooling details if relevant.
As for the long-distance fully-vaccinated married couples, they would also have to apply to the police for interdistrict or interstate travel, and need to produce both spouses’ identity card and Covid-19 digital certificate, a copy of their marriage certificate or marriage card, and documents proving their place of residence or employer’s verification letter.
Once approval is given by the police, such fully-vaccinated individuals would have to produce the police’s approval letter at roadblocks, the infographics said.
Both Muslim and non-Muslims who are fully vaccinated can go to their respective houses of worship, with this benefit applicable nationwide and not just in Phase Two and Phase Three locations, the prime minister said.
Such benefits are also expected to kick in from August 10 onwards.
Don’t neglect SOPs, vaccination benefits can be withdrawn
Muhyiddin said further details to the benefits for fully-vaccinated individuals would be issued by the National Security Council soon.
Muhyiddin however cautioned that the government’s granting of these benefits to fully-vaccinated individuals does not mean that the ongoing SOPs can be abandoned, pointing out that the benefits of dining in and sports carry a greater risk for an individual to be infected with Covid-19.
“The government will not hesitate to withdraw all benefits that have been given if there is non-compliance towards guidelines and SOPs that have been fixed.
“If there are infections in premises that enjoy these benefits, the Health Ministry particularly will immediately take the necessary steps including carrying out a re-evaluation of risks, and the possibility — of immediate shutdown of premises or area involved and the issuing of compound to those identified as breaching SOPs — is not discounted,” he said.
Muhyiddin highlighted that Malaysians have a shared responsibility in facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Truly, these benefits are a proof of the government’s confidence that the public who have already received full vaccination can make their own risk evaluation that is rational and wise in facing the threat of the Covid-19 virus that is now already widespread in our community,” he said.
Earlier in his announcement, he had also acknowledged that the granting of these benefits would certainly carry the risk of an increase in daily new Covid-19 cases, but pointed out the advantages of being fully vaccinated such as protection from severe symptoms and reduced infectivity rates, and also highlighted the role of such benefits towards the public’s mental and physical health and the nation’s economic activities