《TAIPEI TIMES》 Eating, drinking to be allowed at transport facilities
A passenger walks along a platform next to a Taiwan High Speed Rail train in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Starting today, people can eat and drink in most areas inside airports, ports and bus terminals, while Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp （THSRC） will from Nov. 8 begin selling tickets for non-reserved seats, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said at its daily news briefing yesterday.
Eating and drinking were banned in all public transportation facilities when a domestic COVID-19 outbreak began in the middle of May. When the nationwide COVID-19 alert was lowered to level 2 on July 27, restaurants in Taiwan Railways Administration and THSRC stations were partially reopened.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai （王國材） said that from today, the ban on eating and drinking is to be conditionally lifted for airports, ports and bus terminals.
Eating and drinking are to be allowed in the waiting areas of bus terminals, Wang said, adding that eating and drinking at ports and airports would be allowed in the departure areas, including departure halls, pre-departure waiting areas and restaurants in those areas.
Restaurants are required to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, and people should maintain social distancing from strangers, or use dividers when eating and drinking in these areas, he said.
As the CECC is maintaining its strict border controls, eating and drinking are to remain prohibited in the arrival areas of airports and ports, he added.
Aside from selling non-reserved seats from Nov. 8, THSRC will increase the weekly number of trains from 899 to 1,016, Wang said.
Addressing concerns that non-reserved carriages might become overcrowded, Wang said that while normally there are three carriages of non-reserved seats — the 10th to 12th carriages — on high-speed trains, THSRC would increase the number of carriages during rush hour and could also increase the number of trains to meet increased demand.