SINGAPORE: Foreign domestic workers must continue to stay at home during their days off under the first phase of Singapore's post-"circuit breaker" reopening, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Saturday (Jun 13).
The advisory to employers came after some foreign domestic workers were seen gathering at hotspots such as City Plaza, Lucky Plaza and Peninsular Plaza last weekend.
Foreign domestic workers "must continue to stay at home during their rest days," MOM said in the advisory.
They will be able to go out to run errands and buy meals, but are not allowed to meet up with friends or gather in public areas and should return home immediately after their errands.
This was "in line with the rest of the community", MOM said.
Singapore exited its circuit breaker as planned on Jun 1. It will gradually reopen the economy in three phases.
Under Phase 1, students have returned to schools on a rotational basis and certain businesses and services have reopened.
Retail shops, consumer services and sports facilities such as stadiums and swimming pools will be allowed to reopen under Phase 2, as will limited dining-in and social gatherings.
Phase 2 could start before the end of June, depending on the number of COVID-19 transmissions in the community in the first two weeks of the reopening, the authorities said last month.
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Singapore authorities first issued an advisory on Mar 21 for foreign domestic workers to adhere to safe distancing practices on their rest days, in line with stricter measures announced by the Health Ministry.
It issued another advisory on May 21, informing employers that domestic helpers "should stay at home" during Phase 1 of Singapore's reopening.
However, some domestic helpers were seen gathering in groups with their friends last weekend at hotspots such as City Plaza, Lucky Plaza and Peninsular Plaza, said MOM.
"Some of them were queuing up to remit money, and some were seen to have gathered in groups with their friends. The FDWs were asked not to loiter or gather in groups, and to return home immediately after they were done with their errands," said MOM.
Safe distancing ambassadors will continue to be on the ground this weekend, the authority said, adding that those who disregard MOM’s advisory to return home immediately after running their errands will face firmer action, including warnings and revoking of work permits.
Separately, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has worked with the licensed remittance agents in City Plaza, Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza to serve customers by appointment on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, said MOM.
"Employers are advised to inform their FDW on the need to make an appointment if they wish to remit money at these locations," said MOM.