The Singapore government has announced a further easing of restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the number of community cases has remained low, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce will ease measures to facilitate business operations, by supporting essential business travel, and enabling more employees to return to the workplace,” said a news release by the Ministry of Health.
The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has decided to create a new business travel pass for senior executives in Singapore “with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes”.
Those holding this pass will be required to abide by a strict controlled itinerary when they travel overseas for work and upon return, will be given the option of doing a COVID-19 test in lieu of Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and self-isolate until the COVID-19 test results are out.
The Ministry of Manpower is allowing more employees to return to work as of September 28, though it has been emphasised that “working from home remains the default mode of working”.
“We will allow more employees (presently working from home) to return to the workplaces. But employers must ensure that (i) such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and (ii) no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time,” said the news release.
Employers have been asked to minimise crowding and congregation at common spaces, including on public transport with measures such as flexible workplace hours, further staggering of reporting times, and split team or shift arrangements with each team restricted to one worksite where possible.
The government has also allowed the resumption of work-related events within the workplace premises that are business-oriented (such as conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings), for up to 50 persons (or lower depending on venue capacity based on safe management principles).
“Employers must not organise or encourage larger scale social gatherings within or outside the workplace such as parties, celebrations, team bonding activities, dinner-and-dance (D&D), and gala dinners,” the statement added.
Religious congregations and wedding ceremonies
Starting October 3, religious organisations will be allowed to conduct congregational and other worship services for up to 100 persons, subject to safe distancing and safe management measures in place.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) is also considering a pilot to increase worship limits up to 250 persons (five zones of 50 persons for congregational services), said the release.
Also from October 3, wedding receptions will be allowed up to 100 unique attendees (including the wedding couple, excluding vendors and service providers) in total, subject to premises capacity.
“Participants in a wedding can be split into multiple zones of up to 50 persons each, or split by staggered timings with up to 50 persons in each slot. There should be at least 30 minutes between slots for cleaning and disinfection of the event space,” said the news release.
The cap for marriage solemnisations has also been increased to 100 persons, split across multiple zones of up to 50 persons each.
From October 1, large cinema halls (with more than 300 seats) will be allowed to have up to three zones of up to 50 patrons each. Other cinema halls would also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50% of their original operating capacity, or maintain the current limit of up to 50 patrons per hall, subject to the relevant safe management measures, read the statement.
The Ministry of Health has also raised the age for children to wear masks from the current 2 years old to 6 years old and above. The current guidelines also permit children 12 years old and below to use a face shield instead of a mask.