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No more group size limits and safe distancing: All you need to know about the new COVID-19 measures from Apr 26

No more group size limits and safe distancing: All you need to know about the new COVID-19 measures from Apr 26

People wearing protective face masks in Orchard in Singapore on Jan 5, 2022. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan/CNA)

SINGAPORE: The multi-ministry task force announced last week that Singapore will be further easing its COVID-19 measures from Tuesday (Apr 26), which include removing the caps on group sizes and number of employees who can return to the workplace. 

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the country has reached “a major milestone” in the fight against COVID-19, with the country now able to “breathe easier”. 

With COVID-19 infections rates in Singapore stabilising, the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level, which gives an indication of the current disease situation, will also be lowered from Orange to Yellow. 

Here's what you need to know about the new measures: 

MASK-WEARING STILL REQUIRED INDOORS

While mask-wearing remains optional in outdoor settings, people are still required to wear masks in indoor settings when they leave their homes. 

These include public transport, shopping malls and hawker centres. 

NO MORE GROUP SIZE LIMITS AND SAFE DISTANCING

There will no longer be a group size limit. Individuals will not be required to keep to a group of 10 people for mask-off activities. 

The cap on the number of unique visitors per household, previously 10 at any one time, will also be lifted. 

Safe distancing is also no longer needed between individuals or between groups. 

NO MORE CAPACITY LIMITS

Previously, larger settings or events with more than 1,000 people and were mask-on were subject to a capacity limit of 75 per cent. 

This cap will be lifted for such settings and events. However, all nightlife businesses where dancing among patrons is one of the intended activities will still be subject to a 75 per cent capacity limit. 

ALL WORKERS CAN RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE 

All workers will be able to return to the workplace, up from the current 75 per cent limit of those who can work from home. 

While masks are still required in indoor settings, workers will be allowed to remove their masks in the workplace when they are not interacting physically with others and when they are not in customer-facing areas. 

However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) encouraged employers to "retain and promote" flexible work arrangements as a permanent fixture of the workplace. These include telecommuting and staggered work hours. 

"Beyond the workplace benefits of flexible work arrangements, this will also help workers avoid peak period crowds as more of us return to the workplace."

RELAXED VACCINATION-DIFFERENTIATED COVID-19 MEASURES

With 96 per cent of Singapore's eligible population vaccinated, vaccination-differentiated measures will also be eased. 

Such measures will be removed from all settings, except for food and beverage establishments, including restaurants, coffee shops and hawker centres. 

Other settings where vaccination-differentiated measures will not be removed include events with more than 500 participants at any one time, as well as at nightlife establishments where dancing among patrons is one of the intended activities. 

NO MORE HEALTH RISK NOTICES FOR COVID-19 CLOSE CONTACTS

Health risk notices will no longer be issued to close contacts of COVID-19 cases, and those infected with COVID-19 will not need to submit details of their household contacts online. 

However, MOH urged people to continue to exercise social responsibility. For example, those tested positive for COVID-19 should inform their close contacts so that they can take the necessary precautions, such as testing themselves before leaving their homes. 

TRACETOGETHER NOT REQUIRED AT MOST VENUES

As health risk notices will no longer be issued, COVID-19 cases will not need to upload their TraceTogether data or submit their token from Apr 26. 

Most venues will also no longer require the public to check in using their TraceTogether application or token, except at larger events with more than 500 participants at any one time and certain nightlife establishments. 

However, members of the public are still "strongly encouraged" to keep the TraceTogether application on their smartphones and their TraceTogether tokens, as the TraceTogether or SafeEntry capabilities will be kept as a means of conducting vaccination-differentiated measures checks. 

NO COVID-19 TESTS FOR FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELLERS ENTERING SINGAPORE

All fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Singapore via air or sea checkpoints from Apr 26 will not be required to take a pre-departure test. This also applies to non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and below. 

Previously, travellers arriving from these checkpoints were required to take a test within two days of their departure for Singapore.

With this move, it means that fully vaccinated and well travellers will not require any tests to enter Singapore. 

However, entry requirements for non-fully vaccinated travellers remain unchanged. They are required to take a pre-departure test within two days before departing for Singapore, undergo a seven-day stay home notice and take a polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test at the end of their stay home notice period. 

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Source: CNA/lk(gr)

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