Singapore set to ease COVID restrictions: All you need to know

Singapore is set to ease its month-long lockdown starting tomorrow in two steps, with more restrictions possibly being lifted if the situation remains under control. The city-state's Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) made the announcement that return to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) imposed on May 15 at a press conference last week.

Graphic: Connected to India
Graphic: Connected to India

From tomorrow, the current two-person limit on group social gatherings will be raised to five from tomorrow; the same two-person cap on the number of unique daily visitors to a household will also be raised to five. Event size limits and capacity limits of certain sectors will also increase, with pre-event testing (PET) and personal services without masks, e.g. facials and saunas, will be allowed to resume.

If the situation remains under control, more activities may resume with the appropriate safe management from June 21, including dining in at food and beverage establishments; wedding receptions for up to 100 people with PET; live performances; gyms, fitness studios, mask-off sports activities and in-person tuition and enrichment classes.

Attractions, cruises, museums and public libraries will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their normal capacity from tomorrow, up from the current 25 per cent. Events such as movie screenings at cinemas, events in the Mice meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE) industry, worship services and marriage solemnisations outside the home will be able to resume with up to 250 attendees, with PET.

Working from home will remain the default, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said, to reduce overall footfall and interaction at public areas in or near the workplace, as well as on public transport. Home-based businesses will be allowed the same five unique visitors as households.

"Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work-from-home do so, continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours. There should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites," the MOH stated.

The staff who work at settings with unmasked clients/patrons are to be placed on a Fast and Easy Testing (FET) regime
The staff who work at settings with unmasked clients/patrons are to be placed on a Fast and Easy Testing (FET) regime. Photo courtesy: MOH

Singapore will also be extending the vaccination programme to Singapore Citizens (SCs) aged 12 to 39 years, as well as to people who have recovered from COVID-19, the task force stated. As recovered individuals within the first six months after their infection are likely to still have a strong immune response that has not faded, the current priority will be those who had an earlier COVID-19 infection from over six months ago for a one-dose vaccination at this point.

Children under the age of 18 will require parental consent to book an appointment.

The staff who work at settings with unmasked clients/patrons are to be placed on a Fast and Easy Testing (FET) regime, using tests such as antigen rapid test (ART), regardless of their vaccination status. These include staff of dine-in F&B establishments, personal care and appearance services that require removal of masks (eg facial services, saunas, make-up services) and gyms and fitness studios where clients are unmasked. 

In addition, all prevailing safe management measures must be adhered to, and individuals should see a doctor and get tested if they feel unwell, the task force announced.