Social gatherings up to 250 persons allowed in July

The rule applies to all social events including religious gatherings such as aqiqah, but buffet meals continue to be prohibited

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government will allow social gatherings including weddings, birthdays and reunions, from July 1, as it continues to further ease restrictions on public life as concerns over the coronavirus abate.

Social gatherings of up to 250 people, depending on the venue capacity, will be permitted for the duration of three to five hours at a time from next week. The rule applies to all social events including religious gatherings such as aqiqah, an Islamic sacrificial ritual carried out following the birth of a child.

Buffet meals continue to be prohibited, with packed food presented as the best option. Alternatively, event organisers can opt for sit-down dining where meals are served by attendants. Hosts are also advised to devise an in and out movement plan to minimise contact between guests.

“If people cannot guarantee that these guidelines can be observed, we advise them to avoid it instead.

“Bear in mind that the police are continuously conducting checks to make sure that the public abides by the rules we have set,” Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

The latest move adds to a growing list of activities that will be allowed to resume next month after more than three months of restriction. Some parts of the economy had been reopened since May 8.

Malaysia has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases among Asean nations behind Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. The country has reported over 8,500 confirmed cases and 121 deaths.

The relaxation of lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, however, has come with strict health guidelines to reduce transmission risks. These include body temperature checks, the placement of social-distancing markers and the wearing of face masks.

The government has also allowed slaughterhouses, mosques and government-approved bodies to conduct slaughtering rituals on Hari Raya Aidiladha which is set to take place at the end of July.

Ismail Sabri said the Department of Islamic Development has prepared a guideline for entities within the Federal Territories that can be used as a reference for other states to follow suit. Matters on Islamic affairs fall under state jurisdiction.

“We are only allowing a maximum of 30 individuals to manage a cattle, in terms of the duty chain — from slaughtering right down to the distribution of meat. The number of cows allowed will depend on the size of the area and the number of personnel on duty,” Ismail Sabri said.

Separately, the minister said the government will decide in due course on when the hiring freeze on foreign workers, especially for domestic workers, will be lifted. “Most recruitment is done in countries that are currently at high risk. We will consider it when the situation allows it,” he said.

The government is expected to make further announcements on the reopening of schools and learning centres tomorrow.