After lots of anticipation, the government finally announced yesterday that Malaysia will be reopening its borders and entering an endemic transition phase, with looser restrictions and easier travel. With that, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed that one sector will be missing out on the reopening, namely nightclubs.
Starting 1 April, Khairy said nightclubs will be the sole type of premises on the country’s negative list, while not mentioning if pubs would be slapped with the same prohibition. Based on the Ministry of Health’s assessment, the nature of nightclubs makes them high-risk premises, even during the transition phase, according to the minister.
Pubs and nightclubs have not been allowed to open for almost two years, since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Business groups and nightclub owners have repeatedly called the government to allow these premises to operate, saying that the industry faces “total annihilation”. According to the Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association, at least 40% of entertainment outlets have had to switch to becoming restaurants to sustain themselves.
Under the new transitional phase, business hours will no longer be limited and outlets such as mamak joints and convenience stores can resume operating 24 hours a day. Additionally, the capacity of venues for events and mass gatherings will no longer be capped at 50%, although social distancing is still highly encouraged.
(Source: Ministry of Health/Facebook)