CECC announces social distancing measures for COVID-19

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced social distancing measures on April 1 to encourage the general public, in phases, to maintain social etiquette and observe social distancing and thereby reduce the risk of community transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which continues to spread across the globe. Coming in the wake of a significant number of imported COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, these measures seek to protect people’s rights while bolstering epidemic prevention and control efforts, which could be undermined by infected people who don’t seek medical help or are asymptomatic.

In the first phase, the CECC will advise people to avoid going to events where they could come into close contact with others, such as exhibitions, sporting competitions, and concerts, as well as entertainment venues not essential to their livelihood. The CECC will further recommend that people keep a distance from others of at least 1.5 meters in indoor environments and 1 meter in outdoor ones. If all people gathering in a certain place wear face masks in the proper manner, these social distancing recommendations may be ignored. Nevertheless, people will be urged to wear face masks when in crowded and confined spaces. Proprietors of venues where there is a high likelihood of people coming into close contact with one another and where a distance of 1.5 meters between people cannot be effectively maintained should suspend operations.

In the second phase, which will commence if and when circumstances require, the CECC will institute mandatory rules. All nonessential events, particularly those of an entertainment nature, will be prohibited. For essential activities such as medical care, official duties, and work, social distancing of 1.5 meters indoors and 1 meter outdoors must be observed. Even if people correctly wear face masks, a distance of at least 1 meter must be maintained. 

The mandatory rules will specify separate social distancing standards for restaurants, school campuses, offices, mass transport, supermarkets, other commercial sites, locations with long lines of waiting people, and special institutions such as long-term care facilities and prisons. During the COVID-19 outbreak, social distancing must be followed so as to prevent community transmission and protect oneself and others.