It’s official – health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has announced that face masks will be optional outdoors in Malaysia starting May 1, as part of sweeping relaxations of COVID-19 protocols.

You’ll be allowed to unmask anywhere outside your house, office buildings and malls, including bus stops, parks and fields and open-air walkways and bridges. The protective face coverings are still encouraged, however – especially for high-risk individuals and the unvaccinated – in order to continue preventing the disease’s spread.

The mask mandate remains in place for indoor settings, with exceptions made for certain situations, such as eating, exercising alone, performing onstage or giving speeches. You will also need to wear a mask on public transport (buses, trains and taxis) or when in a ride-hailing vehicle such as Grab. There will also no longer be any social distancing requirements, so businesses will be able to house as many people as they wish, although physical distancing is advised for maskless situations.

It has also been confirmed that the requirement to check-in via the MySejahtera app before entering commercial premises will been dropped from May 1. With that, both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter, although those that have tested positive for COVID-19 or under enforced quarantine (Home Surveillance Order, or HSO) are obviously still prohibited. Business owners are required to check the risk status on the visitors’ MySejahtera app, as before.

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