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Singapore returns to tighter COVID-19 measures: What's allowed under the new rules?

Singapore returns to tighter COVID-19 measures: What's allowed under the new rules?

Pedestrians donning face masks crossing a road. (File photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the community, Singapore has announced tighter measures for about three weeks from Saturday (May 8) to curb the spread of infection.

Places that are considered high-risk, such as indoor gyms and fitness studios, will have to close unless they offer low-intensity activities, while fewer people will be allowed at attractions, public libraries, funerals and MICE events.

Limits for gatherings will also be reduced from eight people to five - bringing Singapore back to what it was in Phase 2 of its reopening, which ended on Dec 27.

Here are some changes that may affect your everyday activities:

CAN I MEET FAMILY OR FRIENDS AT THEIR HOMES? 

Yes, but households can only receive five distinct visitors per day.

People are also advised to keep to a maximum of two social gatherings per day, whether it is to visit another household or to meet with friends or family in a public place.

The five-person rule applies to all social gatherings, including dining at restaurants.

READ: Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

CAN I STILL GO FOR EXERCISE CLASSES?

Yes, if you are taking outdoor classes, which are subject to a cap of 30 participants. Group sizes must be kept to five people, with a 3m distance between each group.

Authorities earlier said indoor gyms and fitness studios will have to close as they are considered high-risk. 

These are small enclosed spaces where people are often unmasked while exercising, and in close proximity to other people who are not wearing masks, they said.

In an updated advisory released on Friday (May 7), SportSG announced gyms and fitness studios can remain open if they offer "low-intensity physical activities, sport and exercises where all participants and instructors are wearing masks at all times".

The facilities are not allowed to offer weight, strength or resistance training of any form, or provide equipment for such training which is associated with strenuous activities.

WHAT ARE THE WORKPLACE RESTRICTIONS?

More people will have to work from home.

From May 8 to 30, the proportion of employees returning to the workplace will be reduced to 50 per cent, down from the current 75 per cent.

For those returning to the workplace, employers must stagger their start times and implement flexible working hours. Split team arrangements are not required.

However, social gatherings at workplaces should be avoided, authorities said. In cases where they cannot be avoided, gatherings are limited to the revised group size of five.

CAN I STILL ATTEND WORSHIP SERVICES?

Yes, but pre-event COVID-19 testing will be required for services with more than 100 attendees at any one time.

There is no change to the cap of 250 attendees but currently, pre-event testing is not required.

As an additional measure, congregational singing will be suspended in religious organisations to manage risk of COVID-19 spread.

READ: Possibility of circuit breaker ‘not ruled out’ as COVID-19 taskforce announces tighter measures

HOW WILL WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS BE AFFECTED?

As with current restrictions, marriage solemnisations may proceed with up to 250 attendees. This includes the wedding couple but excludes the solemniser and vendors.  

Guests must be grouped in zones of up to 50 attendees.

What's new is that pre-event testing will be required for the wedding couple if their solemnisation involves more than 50 attendees.

Similarly, wedding receptions with up to 250 attendees may continue in zones or time slots of up to 50 guests each. 

But pre-event testing will be required for all attendees if the reception involves more than 50 people. This limit is currently set at 100.

For burials or cremations, the cap on attendees will be reduced from 50 to 30. The limit for other days of the wake will remain at 30 people at any one time.

WILL ATTRACTIONS AND TOURS CLOSE?

No, but there will be a new limit on the number of visitors.

Operating capacities at attractions, museums and public libraries will be reduced from 65 per cent to 50 per cent. 

Tour groups will need to reduce the number of participants to 20 people from the current limit of 50.

For cinemas, pre-event testing will be required if there are more than 100 patrons. There will be no change to the total number of patrons allowed, which is capped at 250.

USE OF TRACE TOGETHER 

Remember to bring along your TraceTogether token when you head out, or simply use the TraceTogether app on your phone.

Trace Together-only Safe Entry at high-risk venues will start on May 17, after authorities announced that its implementation will be brought forward by two weeks.

Scanning of Safe Entry QR codes with phone cameras and the SingPass application will be discontinued from the same day. Check-ins using national identification cards will be allowed until May 31 to ease the transition.

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Source: CNA/ga(gs)

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