Mask-wearing rules around the world

The Singapore Government announced that mask-wearing will become optional in most indoor settings from Aug 29. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Government has announced that mask-wearing will become optional in most indoor settings from Monday (Aug 29), except in healthcare facilities and on public transport.

Here is a look at rules on mask-wearing in other countries.

Malaysia: The country did away with a requirement for mask-wearing in outdoor settings from May 1, 2022. However, mask-wearing is still mandatory in public indoor environments, with the government warning that fines will be imposed for non-compliance.

Thailand: The wearing of masks has been voluntary since late June as the country seeks to boost to its struggling tourism sector. However, advisories remain in place for wearing face masks in crowded places, when social distancing is not possible, or in venues where ventilation is poor.

Indonesia: The country made mask-wearing voluntary in public spaces from May this year, though it retained the requirement for public transport and indoor settings.

However, as cases climbed again, it reinstated the compulsory wearing of masks in public from July 1. Nevertheless, compliance has been low, with the authorities turning a blind eye to violators.

China: Its Covid-zero policy still requires mask-wearing in all public settings, including public transport, malls and gyms.

Venues such as the China National Botanic Garden in Beijing have staff reminding visitors to keep face coverings on, even in muggy summer heat.

Enforcement varies, however, with some gyms allowing patrons to remove their masks for strenuous exercise.

India: As far as government policy is concerned, mask-wearing is compulsory in India in busy markets, hospitals, public transport, and even private vehicles.

But on the ground, by and large, it is left to the discretion of the public, with lax enforcement by the authorities in the world's second-most populated nation.

Japan: The country has never legally enforced government guidance for mask-wearing in crowded areas such as public transport, and when meeting the elderly or spending time in a hospital. But many of the country's conscientious citizens still voluntarily wear masks.

Masks can be removed outdoors to prevent heat stroke in the summer. Masks are also not required outdoors when one is about 2m from others, or not talking to someone at a distance of less than 2m. A mask is not needed indoors when one is about 2m from others and not talking.

South Korea: Mask-wearing outdoors is not mandatory, though it remains the norm. However, masks are required indoors and on public transport. Those who violate this rule face a 100,000 won (S$104) fine.

United States: The US government and states have often been at odds on federal mask-wearing mandates, though the friction has somewhat eased following a decline in the number of cases.

In the face of growing public apathy to federal and state mandates for mask-wearing, there are no longer compulsory mask rules across the entire country.

Notably, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend mask-wearing in indoor public transportation settings, even though a court order scrapped a mandate on compulsory wearing of masks on public conveyance in April.

Europe: Mask rules vary across Europe, though it is no longer compulsory to wear one in most countries.

For example, in Britain and France, face masks are not required, even on public transport. But Germany enforces a mask mandate on public transport as well as inbound flights.

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