Taiwan Ends Mask Rule for Cyclists and Outdoor Workers 口罩禁令鬆綁 騎車.戶外工作可免戴

As the domestic COVID epidemic continues to slow down, and with the increasing hot temperature recently, Taiwan's centers for disease control announced that it will lift the mask mandate for scooter riders, cyclists, and outdoor workers in open spaces, such as construction workers, as well as people taking a stroll outdoors. However, experts worry that aside from COVID-19, there is the ensuing flu season in the fall and winter; lifting the mask rule may adversely affect epidemic prevention.

As the unbearably hot temperature keeps going up, many people are unable to keep their masks on while outdoors. The CECC announced that starting immediately, it will end the mask rule for scooter riders, cyclists, and outdoor workers in open spaces, such as construction workers. However, experts worry that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has just emerged domestically; if the mask rule is lifted, it may adversely affect epidemic prevention.

Huang Li-min, Honorary Chairperson, Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan: “If you take off your mask, it is easy to contaminate the environment, especially if you are a virus carrier. Naturally, if you take off your mask, people may contract the disease through spit droplet infection.”

Jiang Guang-yu, General Internal Medicine Doctor, Taipei City Hospital: “Riding scooters and meeting up - generally, two people ride together so the distance is quite close. If people do not wear masks in that situation, it is still possible to spread the disease. ”

Some experts believe that it is not appropriate to relax the mask rule within a short time, as aside from COVID-19, fall and winter flu season is fast approaching, and variant vaccines have not yet come into the market, so it is difficult to stop new variant viruses and subvariants from entering the community. However, CECC Commander Victor Wang emphasized that the main point is "open spaces"; if people are taking a stroll in an open space, they do not need to wear a mask.

Victor Wang, CECC Commander: “Even if I'm just taking a walk to buy things, but I treat it as exercise, this would be acceptable. The main point is the activity takes place in open spaces and not the so-called definition of such activity.”

Wang reemphasized that those who engage in indoor or outdoor exercises do not need to wear a mask. Also, taking individual or group photos, whether indoors or outdoors, can be exempted from wearing a mask. Currently, the epidemic is gradually slowing down. After a risk assessment, the mask rule may be further relaxed in August.