CORONAVIRUS/Hostess clubs, ballrooms to remain shut amid COVID-19: city officials

05/09/2020 07:50 PM
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Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only.
Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only.

Taipei, May 9 (CNA) The six special municipalities in Taiwan on Saturday decided not to allow hostess clubs and ballrooms to reopen, although the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has lifted the order conditionally as Taiwan's COVID-19 coronavirus cases continue to slow.

Considering that social distancing can be difficult in such venues, they will remain temporarily closed, New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said, adding that the city will adopt a step-by-step approach to reopening certain public venues and facilities, including hostess clubs, depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Also on Saturday, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said hostess clubs and ballrooms in his city will remain closed for the time being, but public facilities such as activity centers, community colleges and senior educational learning centers will reopen June 1.

Starting July 1, Taoyuan will also evaluate whether cultural events and other activities can be held, Cheng added.

In similar vein, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung also announced that their hostess clubs and ballrooms will not be reopened at this time, citing the difficulty of social distancing in such facilities.

Meanwhile, Taipei deputy spokesperson Tai Yu-wen (戴于文) said the city government is still reviewing the matter, and hostess clubs and ballrooms will remain closed until further notice.

In other municipalities, Chen Kuan-hsin (陳光興), head of the Chiayi City government's Economic Affairs Department, said no decision has yet been made on the resumption of those businesses.

On April 9, the CECC issued an order to shut down hostess clubs and ballrooms in Taiwan, saying they were high-risk venues for the spread of COVID-19, and advising social distancing to prevent cluster infections.

On Friday, however, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that in light of the improvement of Taiwan's COVID-19 situation, local governments could decide whether to reopen their areas' hostess clubs and ballrooms, once they implement the CECC's guidelines against the disease.

The CECC guidelines include proper social distancing, which means maintaining a space between their customers of 1.5 meters indoors and 1m outdoors; implementing personal hygiene measures, such as requiring patrons to wear masks, checking their temperature and providing hand sanitizers; controlling the flow of people by keeping a register of those entering the premises; regularly disinfecting the environment; and ensuring that fire prevention and security systems are functional.

(By Wu Jui-chi, Huang Kuo-fan and Ko Lin)

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