PETALING JAYA: The war against Covid-19 is not over and it may be too early for many to think they can take off their face masks.

Seniors, especially those with comorbidities, still need to mask up and abide by Covid-19 hygiene measures, said Malaysia Coalition on Ageing president Cheah Tuck Wing.

He added that it was even riskier for those who have comorbidities like diabetes and heart disease as they are more likely to experience severe side effects and even death if they are infected.

“With over a thousand cases daily, the elderly are at risk, especially since the borders have opened,” he said.

“It is better for us to continue observing the SOP as we don’t know if there are any new variants emerging soon,” he noted.

Malaysian Employers Federation president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman welcomed the government’s move to make masks optional but encouraged workers to continue wearing them to be on the safe side.

He said every worker has a different health status, which means resilience towards diseases is also different.

“Wearing masks can at least protect them from the possible emergence of new Covid-19 variants and also the influenza virus which is still going around,” he said.

Malaysia Shopping Malls Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok said they would encourage their members to advise retailers and patrons to mask up.

He said as most people were already fully vaccinated, we should get on with our normal lives.

“Masking only needs be done for a purpose and the authorities must have considered the current situation and evaluated the risks.

“However, food and beverage operators and food servers may need to wear masks for hygiene purposes as well as to give confidence to patrons,” he added.

Malaysian Hairdressing Association and United Asian Hairdressers Association president Dr Michael Poh said masking up was an individual preference.

Poh said people should be responsible and mask up if they are symptomatic or feeling unwell.

“I think it’s time we accept this (not wearing masks) as we know all the necessary precautions.

“If people get infected, we already know how to handle it.

“It’s time for us to get back to our normal life,” he said.