CORONAVIRUS/More than a dozen Taipei hostess clubs receive green light to reopen
Taipei, May 21 (CNA) A total of 14 hostess clubs and ballrooms in Taipei have received approval to reopen after passing all relevant government safety inspections, the city's Office of Commerce announced on Thursday.
Thirteen premises are in Taipei's Songshan District, with the other in Zhongshan District, the office said in a statement.
The authorities will monitor the venues closely to ensure they follow guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), the office said.
On April 9, the CECC ordered hostess clubs across the country closed, saying they posed a high risk of spreading COVID-19 after a hostess at a club in Taipei was confirmed to have the disease.
In view of the easing coronavirus situation, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, announced on May 8 that local governments can decide whether to reopen their cities' hostess clubs under certain conditions.
Based on the CECC guidelines, businesses are required to ask that customers follow social distancing measures, wear face masks, have their temperature taken, and make sure they use hand sanitizer before entering.
The clubs will also be required to keep a register of the names and National ID card numbers of customers.
A discussion was held Monday between city officials and several dozen hostess club operators whose businesses were suspended following the CECC order.
Forty-six of these operators applied on Wednesday for a business resumption permit, and were instructed on how to use a mobile app designed to register customers' identities, which then have to be uploaded to the city government's data cloud.
According to Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), the purpose of the app is to identify the source in the event of COVID-19 infection.
With regards to privacy concerns, Huang said the city government will not tamper with or open the stored files "unless absolutely necessary" and the information will be deleted within one month.
Also Thursday, the office said those caught breaching the CECC guidelines will be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 in accordance with the Communicable Disease Control Act.
Businesses can also have their license revoked for a month after three repeat offenses.
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