Restrictions eased but public must remain vigilant

Izah Azahari & Rokiah Mahmud

The Sultanate will be easing more restrictions on August 17. The latest announcement for the de-escalation was announced at a press conference yesterday.

EATERIES AND CINEMAS

Restaurants, cafes and food courts can resume with its buffet services, and children below 12 will be allowed to enter cinemas.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong announced this at the press conference yesterday.

Starting Monday, dine-in services at food premises will remain under Phase 4 of the de-escalation plan, while cinemas will remain in Phase 3.

Seating capacity at cinemas have been increased to 80 per cent, however, social distancing will remain a priority with at least one seat apart. Those coming in groups or with their families are allowed to sit together at the cinema.

The de-escalation plan is being carried out in phases in accordance to advice from the Ministry of Health (MoH) as it monitors the COVID-19 situation locally.

Business establishments and the public can visit www.moha.gov.bn for more information.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong speaks at the press conference. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof (pic above) and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin (pic below)

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & INTERNET CAFES

Public transport operators will be allowed to operate at 100 per cent of the vehicle seating capacity, up from the earlier 50 per cent capacity.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof announced this at the press conference yesterday.

The minister said public transport operators and passengers must still abide by the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines. This includes posting of a BruHealth QR code on the vehicle’s door to be scanned by passengers before entering the vehicle (only green or yellow code holders will be allowed to board); wearing a face mask and not exceeding the vehicle’s seating capacity.

The complete guidelines can be obtained at the Land Transport Department (JPD) website at www.jpd.gov.bn.

Legal action can be taken (under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204) on public transport operators found to be flouting the regulations.

“Social responsibility measures also extend to water transport operators,” the minister said.

“The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) advised boat owners, operators and drivers to work together in ensuring all aspects of cleanliness are maintained, including the cleaning of boat seats and safety jackets for passengers,” he said.

Water transport safety must always be maintained through the use of safety jackets, he said.

The minister expressed gratitude to driving school instructors and the public for their patience with the de-escalation plan for driving schools, which is currently in the Phase 4.

“The ministry is aware that there are currently some practical driving tests that have not been implemented by the Land Transport Department due to the temporary closure recently.

This matter is being addressed by JPD, with an increase in the number of testing officers and frequency of driving test sessions. This is especially for practical tests at the JPD Sungai Akar Training and Driving Test Circuit Complex.”

The practical driving test sessions will resume its usual schedule by August end to early September.

As for Internet cafés, the de-escalation plan remains in Phase 3. The MTIC has also made improvements to the Internet Café Reopening and Operation Guidelines (updated on August 1).

The guidelines include limiting the number of customers at a time (not exceeding 90 per cent of the total capacity of the seating area and ensuring social distancing of at least one metre during the activity); having operators provide a BruHealth QR code for customers to scan before entering the premises (only green and yellow code holders are allowed to enter); and compulsory wearing of a face mask by operators and visitors.

CHILDCARE CENTRE, CENTRE FOR THE DIFFERENTLY ABLED, MUSEUMS, & LIBRARIES

Meanwhile, the de-escalation plan moves into Phase 4 for childcare centres, centres for the differently abled, museums, galleries and libraries.

The child care centre will be allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity without limitations to certain age groups. However, children must not have symptoms of fever, flu or any high-risk infection.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) will assess whether the centres will be permitted to operate.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin announced this yesterday.

Centres for the differently abled will also be allowed to operate at a 100 per cent capacity, and the facilities can be used for those without chronic diseases.

Operating at a 100 per cent capacity also applies to museums, galleries and libraries, while the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (PKWE) will be upgraded to Phase 3, from 60 per cent to 80 per cent capacity.

Guidelines remain the same for these establishments, including practising social distancing and self-hygiene, temperature checks, providing hand sanitisers and scanning the BruHealth QR code before entering and exiting the facilities. For more information, visit www.kkbs.gov.bn.

Flouting the guidelines can result in action being taken under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204).