Covid-19: SOPs relaxed for areas under First Phase; Labuan and Negeri Sembilan move to new Phases

Following our Alerts dated 17 August 2021 and 20 August 2021, the Malaysian Government has announced several relaxations to the prohibitions and restrictions under the standard operating procedures (“SOPs”) for states and federal territories that are still under the First Phase of the National Recovery Plan (“NRP”).
 
At the time of issuance of this Alert, the states of Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Kedah as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya are still under the First Phase.
 
This Alert summarises the salient points of these relaxations.
 
Dine-ins
 
Fully vaccinated individuals are now allowed to dine-in at restaurants and food premises (including restaurants in hotels, cafes in clubhouses, food courts, food trucks, roadside stalls and vendors).
 
Restaurant and food premises operators are required to display a notice showing that only fully-vaccinated diners with no Covid-19 symptoms are allowed to dine-in.
 
For premises that provide dine-in facilities, only fully vaccinated employees with no Covid-19 symptoms are allowed to work and the operating capacity is as follows –
 
  • if 40% of the workforce has been fully vaccinated, the business is allowed to operate at 60% capacity;
  • if 60% of the workforce has been fully vaccinated, the business is allowed to operate at 80% capacity; and
  • if 80% of the workforce has been fully vaccinated, the business is allowed to operate at full capacity. 
Restaurant and food premises operators are required to arrange tables in accordance with physical distancing requirements as well as ensure that good ventilation systems are in place and that each table is occupied by not more than 50% of its usual seating capacity.
 
Fully vaccinated parents are allowed to dine-in with their children aged 17 and below, provided that all relevant SOPS are strictly complied with.
 
Ten kilometre rule
 
The ten kilometre rule has been removed. Fully vaccinated individuals are now allowed to travel from place to place subject to the vehicle’s seating capacity. However, inter-district and interstate travel remains prohibited except for purposes of visiting a child below 18 years old or a spouse living in another district or state, subject to approval by the police.
 
Restrictions continue to apply to the movement of individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Only two representatives from each household are allowed to travel from place to place to purchase food, medicine, dietary supplement and daily necessities. A patient seeking healthcare and medical services is allowed to be accompanied by two persons.
 
The relevant SOPs for the states and federal territories under the First Phase can be accessed here.
 
Labuan and Negeri Sembilan
 
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, announced on 24 August 2021 that the Federal Territory of Labuan will move to the Fourth Phase and Negeri Sembilan to the Second Phase of the NRP with effect from 26 August 2021.1 
 
The Federal Territory of Labuan is the first area that has transitioned to the Fourth Phase of the NRP. According to the Prime Minister, the “current data showed Labuan has achieved a 92.4% herd immunity rate among adults” and the number of new Covid-19 infections have been reduced to single-digit for the last 12 days. Significantly, the Prime Minister added that “ICU bed use has reduced to 0%, compared to 30% a month before”.
 
Under the Fourth Phase of the NRP, all economic sectors are allowed to operate with 100% workforce subject to the prescribed SOPs. Social activities such as festive celebrations and engagements may be conducted at 50% capacity, with social distancing measures in place.
 
In the case of Negeri Sembilan, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said that bed usage in the intensive care units has been reduced from 120% in May 2021 to 40% as of 23 August 2021 and that the vaccination rate for adults who have received both doses of vaccination in that state currently stands at 72.3%.
 
Alert prepared by Tan Wei Liang (Associate) and Tai Kean Lynn (Associate) of Skrine.
 

1 NRP: Labuan moves to Phase 4, Negri to Phase 2 from Aug 26, says PM; The Star Online; 24 August 2021.

This alert contains general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor an expression of legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such.