SINGAPORE: Congregational and other worship services may resume from Jun 26 - starting with up to 50 people at a time - in Phase 2 of Singapore's post-"circuit breaker" reopening.
These 50 people do not include religious and supporting workers, although they "should be kept to a minimum", said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in an advisory on Thursday (Jun 18).
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.
Singing and other live performances are not permitted during the worship service.
"Singing is considered a higher risk activity as it could potentially release a larger amount of droplets," said the advisory. "Places of worship may consider alternatives to singing and other live performance components in their worship services."
GUIDELINES FOR WORSHIPPERS, PREACHERS
People should observe a distance of 1m between each other if they are worshipping individually. If they are in a group of up to five people, there must be a 1m distance between groups.
Congregants should also leave immediately after performing their worship.
"There should be no reception or mingling between worshippers, before, during or after each worship service," MCCY said.
As for those who are involved in conducting the worship services, such as preachers, prayer leaders and scripture readers, they may wear a face shield when speaking. They must also be at least 1m away from any other person.
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NON-CONGREGATIONAL ACTIVITIES CAN RESUME
Non-congregational religious activities such as pastoral services, religious classes for adults and children may also resume.
These activities can involve groups of up to five people, excluding the religious worker or teacher. Multiple groups are allowed as long as each group is separated by at least 1m with no mingling across groups.
"As a best practice, we encourage a greater separation of 2m between groups of students attending religious classes," MCCY said.
It added that religious organisations must establish a one-way flow for entry and exit points for all the permitted activities, and manage the arrival of worshippers to avoid queues from forming.
Places of worship should mainly engage their religious workers and staff members to support the religious activities, and deploy volunteers only if necessary.
"The number of personnel involved in conducting each permitted activity should be kept to a minimum," MCCY said.
BROADCAST OF RELIGIOUS SERVICES ENCOURAGED
Religious organisations are encouraged to continue to offer broadcast of religious services and prayers.
In Phase 2, a maximum 10 people are allowed on location to produce recordings, of which up to five people can temporarily remove their masks when speaking or singing.
Those who are not masked while singing or speaking are "strongly encouraged" to maintain a distance of 2m from others.
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.
MARRIAGE SOLEMNISATIONS AND FUNERALS
In Phase 2, marriage solemnisations, wakes and funerals conducted at places of worship can involve up to 20 people, up from the previous limit of 10 people. This excludes the marriage solemniser or religious and supporting workers.
"There may not be any reception with food and drinks, or wedding celebrations that are not essential religious rites," said MCCY.
"While in-person marriage solemnisations are allowed, we encourage couples to solemnize their marriages via video link, so as to better protect themselves and their loved ones from the risk of infection."
Religious organisations must submit their safe management plans, including manpower deployment, at least three days before starting Phase 2 activities.