One by one, governments in Southeast Asia have announced the lifting of
the mask policies, making living and travel in the region a lot more
similar to pre-pandemic times.
was the first to loosen its mask mandate, making it optional since 23
June for locals and visitors to don face masks in public places.
However, the government encourages the wearing of masks in crowded or
poorly ventilated places.
Other countries have swiftly followed suit.
Singapore also lifted its indoor mask mandate since 29 August. On
flights, mask-wearing requirements will depend on the rules or laws in
the destination country as well as the airline.
In Malaysia, the wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces -- with the
exception of public transport and medical facilities -- has become
optional in Malaysia since 7 September.
Vietnam, too, has relaxed rules for wearing masks in many public
settings since 6 September. Masks are no longer required for public
areas such as supermarkets, movie theatres, restaurants, stadiums, parks
and other outdoor areas.
Wearing of face masks when outdoors is now optional in the Philippines.
Despite the easing of pandemic rules, it is still common to see the
use of face masks in indoor spaces across Southeast Asia as many locals
continue to take precautions against Covid-19 in their daily lives.
Elsewhere in the region, hospitality and retail businesses in New
Zealand welcomed the government's move to scrap all mask wearing
requirements for customers from 12 September.
“Few people like covering their faces, and it is a barrier to
providing good personal service,” said Restaurant Association chief
executive Marisa Bidois, quoted by local media Stuff.
Since 11 September, the Australian government brought an end to its
mask mandate for both domestic and international flights although most
Australian states still mandate mask wearing on many other forms of