COVID-19 restrictions to further ease for weddings, funerals from Aug 4; more people allowed to attend

COVID-19 restrictions to further ease for weddings, funerals from Aug 4; more people allowed to attend

Wedding
FILE PHOTO of a couple getting married. (Photo: Pixabay/ericaa1215)

SINGAPORE: Restrictions on the number of people allowed at two key life events - weddings and wakes/funerals - will be further eased from Aug 4, subject to safe distancing measures.

In a news release on Thursday (Jul 30), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the multi-ministry taskforce recognised the need for "important activities and key life events to continue" during COVID-19 and the move is part of a "careful, calibrated resumption of activities in Phase 2". 

Since the beginning of Phase 2 reopening, marriage solemnisations have been allowed to take place with up to 20 people. 

From Aug 4, it will be expanded to 50 people - including the couple, and excluding the solemniser and vendors - subject to the venue's capacity limit based on safe management principles. 

This will apply to venues like places of worship, HDB common areas and other external venues. 

READ: Marriage certificates sent by courier and no tea ceremonies: First group of couples get married virtually during circuit breaker

"Solemnisations at home, the Registry of Civil and Muslim Marriages (ROM/M) building, and designated areas at the National Museum of Singapore operated by ROM will continue to take place with up to 10 persons as these venues tend to be smaller," said MOH.

The ministry is also launching a pilot where each couple would be allowed to hold one wedding reception with up to 50 attendees for the entire duration of the event. 

This would take place in venues that are permitted to serve food and drinks, including restaurants and hotels, and would be subjected to safe distancing measures. 

READ: Commentary: Virtual weddings are such a great idea, they should stay beyond COVID-19

"Venue operators and owners holding these events must ensure that the physical set-up and event arrangements are in accordance with the above groupings and other safe management measures," said MOH.

Guests should be split into fixed groups of up to five people, with no intermingling or mixing between the groups. The only exception is for the core "wedding party" of up to 20 people, including the wedding couple. 

All groups must remain 1m distance apart at all times.

All attendees are to wear masks at all times, with the exception of the bride and groom who may wear face shields instead, the ministry added. 

"Masks may be removed momentarily for photo-taking."

Self-service buffets, live performances or activities involving singing or talking and shouting are not allowed.

All other wedding-related activities including customary rites would have to adhere to prevailing gathering size limits of up to five visitors to each household and in a group outside the home, MOH said. 

READ: COVID-19 Budget: Government to announce legal measures involving paid deposits as soon-to-wed couples stuck in limbo

WAKES AND FUNERALS

More family members and friends are also allowed to be present to pay their last respects at wakes and funerals, from Aug 4, with up to 30 people present at any one time. The current limit is 20 people. 

MOH said this is also "subject to a venue's capacity limit based on safe management principles", adding that group size limits and safe management measures will continue to be reviewed.

Singapore is six weeks into Phase 2 of reopening after almost two months of the circuit breaker, aimed at curbing the number of COVID-19 infections. 

Since Phase 2 began, most activities have resumed, with strict safe distancing measures in place. 

The ministry said that the number of community cases has remained low over the past few weeks but the likelihood of a second wave remains.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore must be prepared for second wave of infections, ‘preventable’ if everyone plays their part, says Gan Kim Yong

READ: COVID-19: Additional control measures to be implemented after crowding observed at some hotspots

The multi-ministry taskforce will continue to monitor the situation closely, MOH said, with the aim of continuing to enable key social and economic activities to resume gradually and safely.

"We must all adjust our expectations, lifestyles and norms, as we are not going back to the way things were before COVID-19."

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Source: CNA/kv(ta)

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