Increased restrictions in Singapore from May 16-June 13 to check COVID-19 spread

Photo courtesy: Connected to India
Photo courtesy: Connected to India

Singapore has decided to put in stricter measures in place to check the spread of COVID-19 in the island nation following an increase in the number of locally transmitted cases and unlinked community cases. 

This follows the detection of several clusters of infections in the past 2 weeks around an ICA officer and his extended family, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Tuas South Community Care Facility, Pasir Panjang Terminal and Changi Airport Terminal 3. 

“A pattern of local unlinked community cases has emerged and is persisting. This is worrying as it suggests that there may be unknown cases in the community with possible ongoing community transmission and that our earlier and ongoing measures to break the chains of transmissions may be insufficient,” said a press release by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce. “We need to act decisively to contain these risks as any one leak could result in an uncontrolled resurgence of cases”. 

The government has announced a tightening of measures from Sunday 16 May 2021 till Sunday 13 June 2021: 

Reductions in permissible group size 

The current permissible group size of up to 5 persons has been further reduced to up to 2 persons, and the cap of 5 distinct visitors per household per day has been reduced to 2 distinct visitors per household per day. 

“Individuals should continue to limit their overall number of social gatherings to not more than 2 per day, whether to another household, or meeting with friends and family members in a public place,” read the release. 

The release further added that in order to allow families’ current childcare arrangements to continue, grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents on a daily basis would not be counted towards the cap of 2 distinct visitors per household, or to the number of social gatherings per day. 

Minimising Workplace Interactions 

The government has announced that work-from-home will be the default at workplaces and that employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so. 

“There should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites. Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace and implement flexible working hours. Social gatherings at the workplace will not be allowed,” the release added. 

Employees can have meal breaks at the workplace, but are to refrain from  intermingling with their colleagues when their masks are taken off. 

Cessation of Indoor “Mask-Off” Activities

To reduce risks of community transmission, indoor “mask-off” activities such as dine-in F&B establishments will cease during this period. Dine-in F&B establishments (including hawker centres and foodcourts), both indoor and outdoor, will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery options.

Other activities which will also not be allowed during this period include strenuous indoor exercise classes or strenuous individual and group indoor sports and exercise activities. 

In addition, personalised services which require masks to be removed (e.g. facials and saunas), singing, and the playing of instruments that require intentional expulsion of air (e.g. wind or brass instruments) will also not be allowed. 

These restrictions will not apply to medical and dental consultations that require patients to have their masks off. 

Reduction of Activity and Event Sizes and Pre-Event Testing (PET) Requirements

  • Congregational and other worship services: These can continue with a reduced capacity of 50 attendees at any one time without PET, or up to 100 attendees at any one time with PET implemented. Religious workers and all other participants are required to wear their masks at all times. Live singing and playing of wind instruments will be suspended during this period.
  • Shopping malls and showrooms: Occupancy limits for shopping malls and showrooms will be further reduced from the current limit of 10sqm per person of Gross Floor Area (GFA), to 16sqm per person. Odd and even date entry restrictions on Sundays for popular malls will continue.
  • Attractions and shows: The operating capacity of attractions that have received MTI’s prior approval will be reduced to 25% from the current permissible capacity of 50%. Indoor and outdoor shows can take place with up to 100 persons with PET, and up to 50 persons without PET. 
  • Museums and public libraries: These will be allowed to operate at a reduced capacity of 25%.
  • Cinemas: Up to 100 persons allowed into cinema halls with PET implemented. Without PET, only up to 50 persons to be allowed. The prevailing group size of 2 persons remains, and food and beverages cannot be sold or consumed in the cinema.
  • MICE and live performances: Up to 100 persons allowed with PET, and up to 50 persons without PET. Unmasking is not allowed for speakers and performers, and there can be no singing or playing of instruments that require intentional expulsion of air (e.g. wind and brass instruments).
  • Wedding receptions and solemnisations: Wedding receptions will not be allowed. Marriage solemnisations can continue for up to 100 participants with PET and 50 participants without PET.  
  • Funerals: The cap for attendees applicable to all days of the funeral, including the burial/ cremation, is 20 persons or less, down from the current 30 persons. Attendees are to maintain safe distancing and keep masks on at all times.