Indoor dining is still very risky when it comes to COVID-19. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, with transmission levels high, and variants spreading across the country, dining indoors is perhaps the highest of all high risk activities one can engage in.
The concern came to light after Caretaker Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took to his official Facebook page by stating that fully vaccinated individuals in Phase 1 states would be allowed to dine-in beginning TODAY (20th August 2021).
The other relaxation which has been given the green light includes sports, recreational activities and opening of night markets. Prior to entering the restaurants, Malaysians must present their COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate. Couples who have been fully vaccinated are also allowed to bring children aged 17 and under as long as they follow all SOPs.
Instead of thinking about vaccines as magic bullets, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has taken to his social media to remind the public on why the government is allowing dine-in.
A reminder to all, many places are opening because of economy & not because it is safe. Please keep that in mind; please wear a mask, double masks if possible, practice physical distancing & frequent hand washing. Avoid crowded & confined spaces. Stay safe & get vaccinated asap.
— Noor Hisham Abdullah (@DGHisham) August 19, 2021
The way epidemiologists currently view dining, specifically indoor dining, differs from how most of us probably view it. They view a crowded dining room and imagine how much time people are spending together, unmasked, eating, talking, laughing, and spewing microscopic particles into the air.
They also look at the number of windows in the dining room and whether they’re open. All of these factors combine to make indoor dining a coronavirus hazard and raise the chances of infection.
Bear in mind that everything is personal when it comes to risk!
The higher the fully vaccinated percentage rises, the more comfortable restaurant owners and people who will be at ease with indoor dining. What concerns them is the amount of restaurants that are open without limits while immunisation rates remain constant, and the fact that COVID-19 instances are still prevalent in several states.
The “billion-dollar question” at the moment is determining a vaccination percentage that public health authorities think is safe and one that can reach herd immunity as soon as possible.
Still with herd immunity, nothing is guaranteed. I think it is safe to say that we all just better get used to living with the virus at least for the next few years, what we can do is to always protect ourselves, adhere to the SOPs, constantly sanitise, wash our hands, feet, face, you name it even take a shower after each grocery stop and please don’t ditch the mask!
Stay safe, stay healthy and get vaccinated.