8 Things To Keep In Mind After MCO If You’re Living In A High Rise!

Life, as we once knew it, will no longer be the same after MCO; we've gathered some of the important steps you're going to need to follow if you live in a high rise and want to keep you and your family or housemates safe!
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While the world has now somewhat adjusted to staying and working from home all day due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, it only makes sense to be well-prepared for the day when life starts to return to ‘normal’, or the new normal at least.

Before full normalcy can actually happen though, let’s talk about the Movement Control Order (MCO) which may become the Recovery Movement Control Order (also known as RMCO), when the number of cases eventually start to drop.

Malaysians may be thinking that the danger is now past us, and we can go back to doing what we want or travelling wherever we can, right?

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), please don’t do that! While the number of daily confirmed cases and deaths are low (at the time of writing), plus we have a good chance of flattening the curve soon, it doesn’t mean that the deadly virus isn’t able to make an appearance once more.

 

What is the RMCO/ MCO in Malaysia?

The Movement Control Order (MCO) is a measure against COVID-19 first implemented on 18th March 2020 when COVID-19 first hit Malaysian shores.

The Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) is another measure with slightly more lenient SOPs, which aims to ease Malaysians off the MCO before complete lifting of SOPs is possible.

 

How long is the RMCO/ MCO period in Malaysia?

Since it was first introduced on the 18th of March 2020, we’ve had five phases of the MCO*.

  1. 18 March - 31 March 2020
  2. 1 April - 14 April 2020 (14 day extension)
  3. 15 April - 28 April 2020 (14 day extension)
  4. 29 April - 12 May 2020 (14 day extension)
  5. 13 Jan - 18 Feb 2021

The RMCO on the other hand, was first introduced on the 7th of June 2020 as a replacement for CMCO.

It was in effect until the 31st of Dec 2020, and is now extended for states in RMCO until the 31st of March 2021*.

*As of time of writing on 5th Feb, 2021

With that being said, here’s a list of things you need to remember NOT to do even after the RMCO and MCO is lifted, especially if you’re living in a high rise condo or apartment.

Owing to the large number of people living together in the same building complex, it’s incredibly important to keep yourself and your family or housemates safe!

1) Getting into an already-crowded lift

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If someone is in a rush to get somewhere, it’s only common to see people wanting to push their way into the next available lift, even if it’s already full.

During and after the RMCO, it’s wise to follow the number that has been set (if any) by your high rise building’s Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Corporation (MC).

For example, under normal circumstances, a standard lift would be able to carry a maximum of between 8 to 15 passengers.

The JMB or MC could decide to implement a limit of half that number or less, so that residents aren’t squashed in and the risk of infection from sharing a small space with many others is minimised.

 

2) Visiting the playground

It’s not just the adults who are desperate to go outside for some fresh air and a chance to stretch their legs; the children would be wanting a chance to go out and play in the sun again!

Unlike their luckier counterparts who live in a landed property and have a compound to run around in, people weren’t allowed to even visit the facilities floor when the MCO was in effect, let alone use the children’s area.

But now, the government has shown more leniency during the RMCO, where the community is allowed to move about freely within the development's premises only.

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So, it’s only natural for both parents and kids to head out for a quick playtime now, but there are precautions to bear in mind.

As a parent, you’d need to be hypervigilant that your child doesn’t touch any part of their face at all, until they have a chance to wash their hands and use a hand sanitiser.

Also, you’d need to teach your kid(s) beforehand about keeping a safe distance from the other children in the play area, in addition to keeping their face masks on at all times (no ifs, buts, or maybes – would they prefer to be grounded instead?).

 

3) Gardens/green areas

As mentioned above, the adults could really do with some time out in nature before they start losing their mind, even if it means only a couple of minutes a day.

Did you know that sunlight is a natural stress reliever and mood enhancer, as it enhances the level of serotonin (a type of chemical that contributes to well-being and happiness) in the brain?

A walk and/or a jog would be just what you need, and as both are not considered to be a form of team or contact sport, this is also allowed during the RMCO.

It’s crucial that you practice social distancing (staying at least a metre away from others) if you’re planning to go for either one in the green area or facilities floor, as well as to avoid people who seem unwell (coughing and/or sneezing).

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Once you get back to your unit though, make sure that you change out of your outdoor clothes and put everything to wash immediately.

A shower is also a must, not only to wash away the sweat and dust, but to ensure you’re not carrying any of the virus into your home.

 

4) Having visitors over

While we’re sure that some of you may be missing the chance to host tea parties, potluck meet-ups, and the likes, it’s best to avoid having any visitors over during these uncertain times, even after the RMCO has been lifted.

In fact, there are some high rise condos and apartments that still ban the presence of those who aren’t able to prove that they’re residents, in order to keep everyone else safe.

You see, if you and your family/housemates have managed to remain COVID-19-free since the beginning of the MCO (18th March, to be exact), there’s absolutely no guarantee that all of your visitors can say the same too.

They may not be sickly, but they could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. What this essentially means is that they could already be infected yet show no symptoms at all.

So, imagine that someone who’s an asymptomatic carrier shows up at your doorstep with a few other people already living in your unit. That carrier could very well be endangering other families, and not just your own!

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5) Swimming pool

Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice dip in the cooling waters (you’re paying the maintenance fees to have it anyway), especially when the weather seems to be getting hotter and drier these days? However, this is still a no-no during the RMCO for obvious reasons.

Even though the COVID-19 virus spreads easily via respiratory droplets and saliva, while the chlorine and other cleaning agents used in the pool waters kill off the virus, it’s still considered a close contact sport.

As there may be many people (adults and children alike) who could be wanting to use the facility at a time, the decision was made to close off the pools and showers in order to prevent any possible spread.

Best to play it safe okay, since people will find it difficult to practice proper social distancing in the waters.

Therefore, residents in strata properties should not flout the rules by trying to take a midnight swim, or even blatantly hopping in when it looks like there are no guards around.

You may have slipped past the guards but chances are, you’ll get a good scolding from the ever-vigilant residents instead!

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6) Gymnasium and sauna

Another form of a close contact activity (and taking place in closed-off areas too!), gyms and saunas are a popular option for those wanting to work off some stress from work or to burn the extra calories packed on from lunch.

However, with the RMCO ongoing, these two areas are still considered to be off-limits. Notwithstanding the fact that there’s not much proper ventilation, every inch of the gym and sauna would be slick with the sweat of many other people.

While the virus isn’t passed along through sweat, think about how you might accidentally touch your nose after touching the equipment, or wiping away the sweat from your eyes after using the water cooler (which plenty of people have refilled their bottles from).

Since most high rise properties have closed these facilities until further notice, no sneaking in for usage! Not only would you be putting yourself at risk, you’d also be putting other people like the cleaners at risk too.

 

7) Self-collection

We’re talking about the stuff that gets delivered to your address – make sure you take the trip downstairs to collect it from the main entrance, instead of asking the delivery person to go to your unit, thinking that the relaxed conditions of the MCO allow you to take it easy again.

As most condos and apartments have already implemented a special set-up for people to drop off items and food since the start of the MCO, it’ll be wise to continue using that system, at least until the curve is flattened.

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For one thing, keeping strangers away from your home means you get to keep its occupants safe, and free from any possible COVID-19 virus floating around.

For another, bringing a bottle of sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol in it would allow you to properly clean the package that your item/food arrived in, thus further preventing the airborne spread of the respiratory illness.

 

8) Avoid parties/gatherings

While this is true for all Malaysian citizens who’d like to do their part in fighting the pandemic by responsibly staying home, it’s even more so for those who live in stratified properties.

The reason for this is because the units can sometimes be as small as 400 sq ft, and built close to one another.

Even though the government has declared that you’re allowed to organise an open house and visit other houses during celebrations (like the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri) – provided there are no more than 20 people at any one time, and it’s within the same state – would you really still want to do that, given the highly contagious nature of COVID-19?

It actually increases the risk of an infection, with 20 guests packed into such a compact space. If you think that you can host your party or gathering in the common areas instead, please refrain from doing so. You’d be helping to expand the radius of the virus’ spread!

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As mentioned earlier, there could be people who are unknowingly asymptomatic carriers, and with the virus spreading through the air via coughs and sneezes (the droplets can travel several feet, and stay suspended for up to 10 minutes!), there’s the very real possibility of another cluster taking place.

 

Prohibited Activities During MCO in Malaysia

While we’re still in the thick of it now, let’s not forget to abide by the current SOPs!

Outside of your home, here are some of the things you’re not allowed to do during this time.

Please note that this list is non-exhaustive, do refer here for the latest SOPs.

Prohibited activities during MCO in Malaysia

General 

  • No more than 2 people from in one vehicle
  • Individuals traveling together must be from the same household
  • No interdistrict travel without approval letter
  • Traveling restricted to within a 10km radius

Economy

  • Clothing retailers and spas
  • No dining in allowed

Entertainment

  • Night clubs and bars
  • Concerts and live events 

Education

  • Higher education students to continue online learning
  • Face-to-face learning is not allowed except for registered kindergartens and students taking specified major examinations.

Meetings

  • Face-to-face meetings

Festivities

  • Weddings and engagement ceremonies
  • Religious events
  • Birthdays 
  • Any social event

Sport and recreation

  • Sports tournaments
  • Sports activities involving spectator
  • High-contact sports such as football
  • Hiking 

Tourism

  • No tourism activities allowed

 

Permitted Activities During MCO in Malaysia

Permitted activities during MCO in Malaysia

Economy

  • 30% of management staff for those in the five essential economic sectors allowed in the workplace
  • Other staff to work from home
  • F&B, pharmacies, convenience stores allowed to operate between 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. 

Education

  • Face-to-face learning permitted for SPM, SVM, SKM, STPM, STAM and DVM students
  • Private kindergartens may operate if registered 

Sport and recreation

  • Cycling, jogging and running permitted with no more than 2 persons from the same household together
  • Public parks under DBKL to open 

While it won’t feel as festive this year without the open houses and the joyful reunions, take comfort in knowing that you’re keeping your family and friends safe by staying home this year, and preventing the further spread of this deadly illness.

 

Wondering how you're going to make it through MCO and RMCO? Why not check out this list of free (and atas!) things you can do while you're responsibly staying home!

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