KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued today for nightlife entertainment outlets previously on the government’s “negative list” includes mandatory self-test for patrons 24 hours before entry and supervised by a certified medical doctor, and the compulsory use of the MySJ Trace feature in MySejahtera, the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) announced.

The test is to be conducted in a doctor’s presence either virtually or physically.

The SOP also allows premise owners to conduct the Covid-19 test on their patrons, if the latter did not conduct one. Only patrons and employees with the “low risk” status on their MySejahtera smartphone application will be allowed access into the premises.

Patrons will also be barred from entering the premises if they did not perform the test.

Employees who work in the premises must also turn on their MySJ Trace feature upon clocking in.

Patrons must also mask up at all times in the said locations, except during dining and dancing.

When queried by the media, the ministry said that the SOPs apply to all states, but still subject to the currently enforced local council rules and regulations there.

The latest SOPs appear similar to that enforced for the nightlife sector in countries such as Singapore and Germany.

The Singapore government mandates self-testing should the premises allow dancing “as an intended activity”, and several premises in the republic offer on-site testing for patrons.

In Germany, while face masks and social distancing is not required, patrons must be fully vaccinated, or recently recovered from the virus. They must also show proof of a negative self-test result regardless whether they are fully vaccinated or otherwise.

On April 27, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that nightclubs will be allowed to reopen as the National Security Council’s (NSC) Negative List, which prohibited certain activities and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be abolished starting May 15.

Khairy announced the matter during a press conference, adding that the relevant agencies at that time were in the midst of preparing protocols for operations of these soon-to-be reopened premises.

Trade group coalition Industries Unite has appealed to the government to allow pubs and nightclubs to reopen under the National Recovery Plan since October last year.

It estimated that at least 150,000 to 250,000 jobs were at stake as the nightclubs and pubs reach “total annihilation”, which would then place additional unnecessary burdens on the government to support the unemployed.

Most entertainment centres such as karaoke, pubs and nightclubs have been closed since the start of the first movement control order (MCO) in 2020.