Up to 250 people, live performances allowed at worship services in Phase 3 of Singapore's reopening

Up to 250 people, live performances allowed at worship services in Phase 3 of Singapore's reopening

A man wearing a facemask prays opposite a Hindu temple in Chinatown Singapore
A man wearing a face mask prays opposite a Hindu temple in Chinatown, Singapore on Apr 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Up to 250 people will be allowed at worship services from Monday, as Singapore moves into Phase 3 of its reopening, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in an advisory on Saturday (Dec 26).

This is an increase from the current 100.

These 250 people do not include religious and supporting workers, although they "should be kept to a minimum", said MCCY.

Live performance elements will also be permitted during worship services, with the necessary safe management measures in place.

Singapore's move into Phase 3 of its reopening on Dec 28 was announced about two weeks ago by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Under Phase 3, social gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed in public, up from the current five.

Singapore will also ease capacity limits in public places such as malls, attractions and places of worship, Mr Lee had said.

READ: In full: PM Lee's address on the COVID-19 situation

WORSHIP SERVICES

For congregational services exceeding 50 people, worshippers have to be segregated into zones of a maximum of 50 people each, MCCY said.

Worship services must be kept as short as possible, and there should be no sharing of prayer and other common items such as holy books, prayer mats and the passing of offertory baskets.

All persons present must also wear a face mask at all times, MCCY said. 

"Each zone must be completely separated from another by either a physical solid partition (at least 1.8m high if not floor-to-ceiling, from wall-to-wall), or at least 3m physical spacing demarcated by continuous physical barriers," the ministry added.

There should be no intermingling of individuals across zones, the ministry added.

Up to 10 people who are involved in conducting the worship service are allowed to remove their masks at any given time, of which up to five can unmask for singing. People should only unmask when required to perform their duties.

Members of the audience are not allowed to sing during the worship service.

MARRIAGE SOLEMNISATIONS

Religious organisations may continue to use places of worship to conduct marriage solemnisations for up to 100 attendees - excluding the solemniser and religious and supporting workers.

Attendees must maintain a 1m safe distance between groups except a core “wedding party”, which is allowed to comprise up to 20 people (including the couple and their two witnesses). 

No intermingling is allowed and there must not be any reception with food and drinks, or wedding celebrations that are not essential religious rites.

READ: First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Singapore

READ: Singapore can be air cargo hub for COVID-19 vaccines - Changi Airport, CAAS

FUNERALS

For funerals, wakes, installation of niches and post-funeral rites at places of worship, up to 30 attendees may be present at any time. This excludes religious and supporting workers. 

Live instrumental music (non-wind) is also permitted for funerals or post-funeral rites, subject to safe management measures.

Visits to columbaria at places of worship should be kept as short as possible, with no mingling between groups. 

READ: Commentary: Phase 3 will bring us much-needed closure to a difficult year

RECORDING AND BROADCAST OF RELIGIOUS SERVICES AND PRAYERS

Religious organisations that record or broadcast their services will be allowed to have up to 30 people on-location for those productions, of which up to 10 people can unmask at any one time.

If there is “live” singing during these recording or broadcast sessions, a maximum of five people present may be unmasked at any one time.

Those who are unmasked for singing must maintain at least 2m from other individuals. 

Time spent on location should be kept as short as possible, said MCCY, adding that there should be no cross deployment between locations and no socialising between breaks.

READ: Commentary: Our muted joy over Phase 3 is the true new normal​​​​​​​

OTHER RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES

Religious rites and other religious activities - such as pastoral services and religious classes - can be conducted so long as the groups do not exceed 50 people. 

This is also subject to the total premise cap of 150 people.

Each religious class must not exceed 50 people, including the religious worker or teacher.

In these settings, a "greater separation of 2m between groups of students attending religious classes" is encouraged, MCCY said.

Religious organisations must submit their safe management plans, including manpower deployment, at least three days before commencing Phase 3 activities.

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Source: CNA/kv

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