The anticipation is over!!! Just a week or so to see if our exam (Transition Phase) is a success or do we need to scale down on opening up. Definitely much different from the first wave when we re-opened then. The feelings are still mixed. But sooner or later, we will have to face the music and trust the process that the Brunei Government is doing their best they can for the country with a balanced act. We simply cannot just stay still in the pandemic/recovery phase for months and months as this alone will hurt Brunei in a longer run.
My DMs are suddenly on the rise, thinking I have reached a plateau for those seeking for responses. I was wrong. The transition phase is perhaps the “game changer” in our pandemic journey. To me, this could be the deal breaker if Brunei is able to handle the next stage and of course, this boils down to the cooperation from the people.
If I were to rewind back, the second wave felt like a huge test. It seemed like a long time ago even though it was just a matter of three months. Even with words of wisdom from our leaders in Brunei, it was not enough to slow down the infection rate. Clusters became a new trend especially home clusters. The Ministers had enough and implemented “Operasi Pulih”, two months after the second wave.
So with the re-opening of the economy, can we trust the people around us to adhere to the Standard of Procedures (SOPs)? Will we be more discipline than ever before? This, I believe, will be a huge test for Brunei after what we have learnt from the second wave. It’s never easy to change a mindset or habits but we just have to constantly remind people around us not to be “too complacent”.
If you ask me personally, I would practice restrain on certain things such as dining out or have social gatherings. Even with my favourite past time – catching movies – I won’t be rushing myself, playing catch up with the awesome line-up of movies at the cinemas. The only thing I would actually do is getting back to my routine which is tennis since it’s outdoor and not being in a confined space. Furthermore, tennis is a non-contact sport to begin with.
So here are some of the things we have learnt for the upcoming Transition Phase
- Businesses such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, salons to implement Business Continuity Plan, conducting Anti-Gen Rapid Test every two weeks and to practice controlled capacity (50%). Only those who are fully vaccinated (2 doses) will be able to enter.
- Restaurants can accept diners up to 50% of patronage. Maintained social distance gap of 1.5 metres. I believe if it’s from the same address then no social distancing required. However, let me double confirm on this matter. No buffet or dome setting allowed during your patronage.
- Green and yellow codes on your BruHealth app will be allowed to enter public places
- Only double vaccination individuals will be allowed to enter public places
- No need masks while eating/drinking in cafes/restaurants and no buffets allowed.
- Limitation of people in a premise – 50% or 200 pax whichever is lesser
- Staying home period will be from 10pm to 4am. We have an extra two hours in the evening during the Transition Phase. This will be from 19th November to 30th November.
- Weddings can be held at home from 10 pax to 30 pax, depending on the size of your house. No buffet to be served for sure. Suggest for packed food catering.
- For the Masjids/Suraus, only those 18 and above are allowed to enter. Need BruHealth and double vaccination. No need for identification but do make sure Wudhu from home. Cleaning and sanitizing will be done by every “waktu fardhu”. You are required to bring your own prayer mats. The quotas for masjid and suraus will be similar to that of the first wave.
- Daycare center are not allowed to be operating yet even during the Transition Phase. It is set to open during “Endemic Phase”, estimated sometime in December. However, the guidelines have already been given.
- Sports will be allowed but only for training purposes. The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports will be handling out the guidelines for respective sports and leisure centres.
- There is no specific or indication on the numbers when the hospitalization rate hits a warning sign for the health care system.
- Unvaccinated civil servants will work from home during the Transition Phase. It’s still being discussed with these individuals will have to borne the usage of the ART kits if they return back to work in their unvaccinated condition.
- There are discussions where Quarantine Order will be revised for the Transition Phase. There is a possibility that the QO won’t be longer than the usual (14 days).
- Governmental dental services might not be in operation just yet as some of the government dentists are still helping out at the frontline.
- Temporary suspension on cross-border activities has been extended to 30th November except for those who have been granted approval from the Brunei Government.
- Vaccination hours have changed from 8am to 5pm at the Indoor Stadium Vaccination Centre.
- Construction workers with single dose of vaccine can still work in isolation such as road works or outside works. The same applies to those handling landscaping jobs. Those with one dose of vaccine are not allowed to conduct renovations at residences.
- Those caught outside the hours of Ops Peralihan will pay a fine of BND 500.
- Owners or Manager of the Premise or Event Organizer, should they exceed the human capacity of the given space, they will pay a fine of BND 5,000.
- Premises that allowed any individual to enter with only one vaccine then the owner or the manager of the space or the event organizer will have to pay a fine of BND 2,000.
- Those who haven’t completed their vaccination will pay BND 100 should they enter any premises.
- Employees or workers who are caught not wearing their masks will be fined BND 100.
The list will just get longer and longer but if you want to study more in depth, you can check out JPM’s website for updates and I am pretty sure it will be refined from time to time for the convenience and safety of the public.