COVID-19 Update: Easing of Restrictions under Conditional MCO
On 1 May 2020, during a special address, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that there will be an ease of restrictions in which a number of activities will be allowed to resume beginning 4 May 2020 under a conditional MCO. This announcement has been gazetted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No.5) Regulations 2020 which is accessible here.
Following the announcement, the National Security Council (“NSC”) has also issued the relevant SOPs for permitted sectors as well as a list of activities that are prohibited. The list of SOPs could be found on the NSC’s website here.
The SOPs were prepared to ensure that health and safety aspects are taken into consideration including maintaining social distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing of face masks, and reporting all information on COVID-19 to the Ministry of Health. Failure to adhere to the SOPs could result in legal action being taken, revocation of operation permits and any related actions. The Government, through cooperation with the Ministry of Health, PDRM, and other enforcement agencies will continue to monitor and enforce in order to ensure that the SOPs are adhered to.
The key measures under the CMCO are as follows:
- while economic sectors are allowed to open, a number of industries and businesses are prohibited to open, especially those that are unable to enforce social distancing. Examples include cinemas, karaoke centres, reflexology centres, entertainment hubs, Ramadhan and Aidilfitri bazaars, self-service launderettes, beauty salons, barbers, museums, and all forms of conferences and exhibitions.
- all social gatherings that involve large gatherings are prohibited including sports activities, and social, community and cultural events such as open houses, concerts and cultural shows. Outdoor sports activities which do not involve body contact and in small groups comprising of not more than 10 people are allowed provided social distancing is practiced. For religious activities, all assemblies at places of worship are prohibited.
- all inter-state travel is not allowed including for Aidilfitri. Inter-state travel is only allowed for work purposes or returning home from hometowns.
- all schools, colleges and institutes of higher learning will remain closed with students continuing their studies from home through online learning.
- restaurants and eateries are allowed to offer dine-in options provided that social distancing is in place. All restaurants are required to provide hand wash and hand sanitisers and to disinfect tables after every use. Employers are required to provide employees with face masks and ensure that they are worn at all times. Businesses are also expected to record the details of customers to enable contact tracing.
Mixed reactions from state governments
Some states however, have decided not to comply with the conditional MCO and they include Sarawak, Kedah, Sabah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan, Penang and Perak. It is advisable to check with the relevant state governments on the activities that are permitted and prohibited during the conditional MCO period.
If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Zaid Ibrahim & Co.’s Taskforce at ZI-Covid19@zicolaw.com.
This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.