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Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures
04 May 2021 06:57PM
Singapore Phase 2 Geylang Serai market dining in
People eating at Geylang Serai Market on Jun 19, 2020, the first day of Phase 2 of Singapore's post-circuit breaker reopening. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)
(Updated: 04 May 2021 07:17PM)
SINGAPORE: Limits on social gatherings will be reduced from groups of eight people to five as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures amid a rise in community cases.
The new restriction will be in place from May 8 to May 30.
It applies similarly to households, which will only be able to receive five distinct visitors a day.
People are also advised to keep to a maximum of two social gatherings daily, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (May 4).
Several other measures were announced, including the closure of indoor gyms, as well as testing requirements for worship services and cinemas with more than 100 attendees.
Capacity will be reduced at attractions, libraries, tours and MICE events.
READ: 8 more COVID-19 infections linked to TTSH cluster among 10 new community cases in Singapore
The measures will take Singapore back to Phase 2 of its reopening for a few weeks, said co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, Lawrence Wong, at a press conference.
"This is not a circuit breaker. We certainly hope not to have to invoke another circuit breaker," he said.
While the measures will take effect on May 8, Mr Wong urged people to scale back on their activities as much as possible from Tuesday.
The proportion of employees allowed to return to the workplace will be reduced from May 8 to 30.
“Employers must ensure that no more than 50 per cent of employees who are able to work from home return to the workplace at any time,” MOH said. This is down from 75 per cent currently.
Social gatherings at the workplace should be avoided, said the ministry.
"However, if they cannot be avoided, for example during meal breaks, the gatherings are subject to the revised group size of five persons," it added.
GYMS, FITNESS STUDIOS TO CLOSE
Indoor gymnasiums and fitness studios will have to close from May 8 to 30 as they have been identified as higher-risk settings.
"These are small enclosed spaces where people are frequently unmasked while exercising, and in close proximity with many other unmasked people," said MOH.
Organised outdoor exercise programmes and classes may continue, subject to a class size of 30.
"This includes group sizes of up to 5 persons and a 3-metre distance between each group," said MOH.
MOH said it will “remain vigilant” and continue to monitor other higher-risk settings and activities such as indoor sports halls and personalised services such as massages, spas, and facials.
“If the community cases situation does not improve, we will consider taking further actions on these higher-risk settings and activities,” MOH said.
SMALLER GROUPS FOR EVENTS, PRE-TESTING REQUIREMENTS
To minimise the likelihood of large cluster formations, MOH said it will reduce event sizes and the limits caps beyond which pre-event testing is required.
Congregational and other worship services will from May 8 to May 30 require pre-event testing if there are more than 100 attendees at any one time, capped at 250 attendees.
“To further reduce the risks of transmission, congregational singing will be suspended in religious organisations to manage any risks of spread,” MOH said.
For weddings, the maximum number of attendees will be 250 attendees in total -including the wedding couple but excluding the licensed solemniser and vendors for the entire event - in zones of up to 50 attendees.
Pre-event testing will be required for the wedding couple for solemnisations involving more than 50 attendees, MOH said. Wedding receptions may also proceed with up to 250 attendees in total for the entire event, in zones or timeslots of up to 50 attendees each.
“Due to the higher risk at receptions where people are unmasked while enjoying their meals and come into close and prolonged contact mingling with one another, pre-event testing for all attendees (including the wedding couple) will be required for wedding receptions involving more than 50 attendees,” MOH said.
For funerals, attendees at the day of the burial or cremation will be limited to no more than 30 persons, down from 50 persons currently. The cap for other days of the wake remains at 30 attendees at any one time, MOH said.
As pre-event testing is not required, attendees are reminded to maintain safe distancing and keep masks on at all times to reduce the risk of spread, MOH added. As a new requirement, all mass participation sports events will be suspended and no spectators will be allowed. The maximum number of attendees allowed at live performances at designated venues, pilot business-to-business events and cinemas will be reduced from 750 to 250.
Pre-event testing will be required for all attendees of these events if there are more than 100 attendees. Similarly, cinema attendances will be reduced to 100 attendees, with the “potential to increase to 250 attendees with the additional requirement of pre-event testing”, MOH said.
Operating capacity will also be reduced from 65 per cent to 50 per cent at museums and public libraries.
Mr Wong said that while the hope is that the measures will slow down the COVID-19 spread, a circuit breaker is not out of the question.
"If new unlinked cases continue to emerge in the coming days and weeks, then certainly, we will not hesitate to take even more stringent measures, even the possibility of having to enter another circuit breaker down the road," he said.
"But let's try to avoid that scenario, and let's all do our part."