Weddings, live performances to have increased capacities with pre-event COVID-19 tests

Weddings, live performances to have increased capacities with pre-event COVID-19 tests

Attendees arrive for their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antigen rapid test before a conference he
Attendees arrive for their COVID-19 antigen rapid test before a conference held by the Institute of Policy Studies at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore on Jan 25, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Marriage solemnisations, wedding receptions and live performances can have increased capacity limits from next month if pre-event testing is implemented for their attendees, Singapore's COVID-19 task force said on Wednesday (Mar 24). 

Attendees who have taken both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before the event will not have to be tested, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, speaking at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force. 

From Apr 24, the limit for marriage solemnisations will be increased from 100 to 250 attendees, in zones of up to 50 people each, said Minister for Education Lawrence Wong, who is co-chair of the task force. This includes the wedding couple but excludes the licensed solemniser and vendors. 

Pre-event testing

For solemnisations with more than 100 attendees, the wedding couple will have to be tested before the event, he said. If there are 100 or fewer attendees, pre-event testing is not required. 

The limit for wedding receptions will also be increased from 100 to 250 in zones of up to 50 attendees each, including the couple getting married and excluding vendors, said Mr Wong. 

Due to the higher risk at receptions “where people are unmasked while enjoying their meals and come into close and prolonged contact with one another”, all attendees at wedding receptions with more than 100 people must undergo pre-event testing, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a separate press release. 

READ: COVID-19 vaccination now open to Singapore residents aged 45 to 59

LIVE PERFORMANCES CAPACITY LIMITS INCREASED TO 750

The capacity limits for live performances will be increased to 750 people if pre-event testing is in place. Events that do not implement testing can have 250 attendees.

Pilot business-to-business events approved by the Singapore Tourism Board will be allowed to have up to 750 attendees in zones of 50 attendees, if pre-event testing is implemented. These events currently can have up to 250 attendees in zones of 50. 

Seated spectator sport events are currently being piloted and approved by SportSG. They will also be allowed to have 750 spectators if pre-event testing is put in place, said Mr Wong. Those without pre-event testing will be allowed to have up to 250 spectators.

For wakes and funerals, which are currently limited to 30 attendees, the cap will be raised to 50 for the day of burial or cremation. It remains at 30 attendees at any one time for other days of the wake. 

“Because pre-event testing is not required and there could be a large number of persons visiting over the course of the wake and funeral to pay their last respects, attendees are reminded to maintain safe distancing and keep masks on at all times to reduce the risk of spread,” said MOH.

READ: COVID-19: More employees may return to the workplace, split teams not required from Apr 5

Responding to questions on why nightclubs and karaoke joints were not included in these new restrictions, Mr Wong said the Government has not yet decided to resume the pilot for the nightlife industry. 

The pilot for the nightlife industry was put on hold earlier this year when there was a rise in local cases, and the Government will continue to review it, he noted. 

“We are taking a controlled process in resuming activities. Looking at the overall situation, where the infection is, making sure it’s under control, at the same time looking at the overall progress in our vaccination plans,” said Mr Wong. 

Mr Gan also addressed a question on whether there are plans to increase the limit for private social gatherings from the current cap of eight people. 

READ: Back to the office: 7 things you need to know as Singapore shifts to more flexible way of working amid COVID-19

“This social gathering limit of a person is actually quite a broad-based measure. Any adjustment to this number has a very broad-based impact on the whole of social interaction, and therefore the risk of transmission goes up significantly,” said Mr Gan.

Meanwhile, the Government is considering “broader guidelines” for those who have been vaccinated, beyond the exemption from pre-event testing, said Mr Wong. 

“The evidence around the world shows that vaccination can help not just to protect yourself but also reduce transmission risk, so we will look at what the guidelines are for vaccinated persons with regard to social activities, interactions as well as travel,” he said. 

Adding that the plan is still a “work-in-progress”, Mr Wong said: “Clearly the direction is towards more flexibilities for those who are vaccinated.” 

Watch the full news conference and Q&A session:

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Source: CNA/hw(cy)

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