Malaysia yesterday reversed a decision prohibiting family gatherings during Chinese New Year celebrations starting this week.
Up to 15 family members who live near each other are now allowed to gather for reunion dinners on the eve of the festival on Thursday, and a restricted number of people can also go to the temples for worship, according to Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The rules were revised days after the authorities faced widespread ridicule for its new measures, which were seen as restrictive towards those celebrating Chinese New Year but lenient on potentially crowded night markets.
“The number of worshippers must not exceed 30 people at any one time and they must wear face masks and maintain physical distancing,” Ismail said about revised safety measures at the temples during Chinese New Year. The government previously limited worship to five temple committee members.
A maximum of 15 family members living within 10km of each other will be allowed to gather for reunion dinners. Interstate travels remain forbidden.
Temple visits are allowed on Feb. 11, 12 and 19, which is the last day of celebrations and also known as the Hokkien New Year or the Jade Emperor’s birthday. Visits to the places of worship will be allowed from 6am to 2pm at 30-minute intervals, including time allocated for disinfecting the space.
The government last week allowed night markets to resume operations, weeks after they shut since the latest round of lockdowns took place.
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