Khairy: Only Nightclubs On Negative List From April 1

Nightclubs typically feature dancing in close contact, while pubs and bars do not have a dance floor and serve food and drink like restaurants.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 – Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin clarified today that nightclubs are the only premises that will remain closed from April 1, even as other facilities, including places of worship and indoor events, will be exempt from physical distancing requirements.

The National Security Council’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Phase Four updated March 7 — before Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement yesterday on the April 1 transition to the endemic phase — lists four activities on the Negative List, including “activities in nightclubs or pubs”.

“Starting April 1, only one premise, one type of premise, will be listed on the Negative List that still will not be allowed to reopen, which is nightclubs, because of the particular nature of nightclubs,” Khairy told a press conference today.

“We’ve looked into this, on the balance of risk assessment, nightclubs are a high-risk premise, even in the transition to the endemic phase, so that remains on the Negative List. That only remains on the Negative List.”

Khairy’s announcement effectively means that pubs and bars are allowed to reopen on April 1, just not nightclubs.

Nightclubs typically feature dancing in close contact, while pubs and bars do not have a dance floor and serve food and drinks like restaurants. Nightclubs have been closed for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ismail Sabri announced yesterday that physical distancing requirements would be dropped at all places of worship, including at mosques during Friday prayers so that the congregation could “rapatkan saf”, which means praying right next to each other in close contact. 

Fifty per cent capacity limits, he said, would also be dropped at indoor events, although organisers are told to ensure “reasonable” physical distancing.

The prime minister also said that eateries would be allowed to reopen past midnight from April 1, according to their business licences, including 24-hour restaurants.

Multiple political rallies or meet-and-greet events during the Johor state election campaign, including those organised by Barisan Nasional (BN), had people gathering in close contact. 

England previously required Covid-19 passes, which include vaccination status, for entry into nightclubs and other venues in January, but dropped the legal requirement on February 24 for restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, and takeaway services to check visitors’ Covid-19 passes.

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