Taiwan to enforce masks for vendors, service, hospitality staff: CECC

A vendor in Taipei's Raohe St. Night Market / CNA photo for illustrative purposes only

TAIPEI (CNA) — All vendors and service providers who deal with customers will be required to wear surgical masks, with enforced regulations to be revealed at a later date, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday.

The general principle is to try to adopt social distancing at all times, and to wear masks when such scenarios prove to be difficult, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The regulations, which will be extended to vendors and all first-line hospitality staff members, will be announced after further meetings have been conducted, he said.

The idea was first brought up Monday by ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩) at a legislative hearing to review if wearing masks should be mandatory for all hospitality, and food and beverage staff, as it is for all people who work in and use public transport.

She directed her concern after personally witnessing staff at a large restaurant not wearing masks while serving customers over the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival last weekend.

In response, Ministry of Health and Welfare Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung (何啟功) said new directives will be published in the coming two days to enforce all staff members and the general public to wear masks at restaurants, and at night and traditional markets.

The possibility of a hike in the number of coronavirus infections was raised Monday due to outings at scenic spots over the four-day long weekend.

A line of people buy grilled food from a vendor in Yilan’s Nanfang’Ao over the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday / CNA photo for illustrative purposes only

The CECC held a press conference to ask all holidaymakers who visited crowded scenic spots or venues in Taiwan during the holiday period time to practice self-health management for 14 days and to avoid public spaces to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.

On Monday, Taiwan recorded 10 new infections, bringing the total to 373 since the virus emerged in China at the end of last year, according to CECC statistics.

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