SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore will relax the tightened Covid-19 measures currently in place and move to phase 3 (heightened alert) from Monday (June 14).
In a press conference on Thursday (June 10), the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force said Singapore will gradually reopen in two steps.
1. What can I do from June 14?
• The two-person limit on group social gatherings will be raised to five.
• The same two-person cap on the number of unique daily visitors to a household will also be raised to five.
• Attractions, cruises, museums and public libraries will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their normal capacity, up from 25 per cent.
• Live performances, spectator sports events, movie screenings at cinemas, events in the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, worship services and marriage solemnisations outside the home will be able to resume with up to 250 attendees, if pre-event testing (PET) is conducted, or up to 50 attendees without PET.
• Services which require masks to be removed, such as facials and saunas, will be allowed to resume.
• Home-based businesses will be allowed to operate with up to five unique visitors a day.
• Groups of up to five per room will be allowed for hotel stays, up from two currently.
• The occupancy limit for shopping malls and showrooms will be raised to one person per 10 sq m of gross floor area, up from the current limit of one person per 16 sq m.
• Up to 50 guests will be allowed to join conveyance tours such as Duck Tours, up from 20 now. Non-conveyance tours will remain capped at 20 guests.
2. What can I do from June 21?
• Food and beverage establishments will be allowed to resume dining-in services with safe distancing in place.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong urged F&B businesses to make use of the additional one week to go through their processes and protocols, such as ensuring that they comply with safe distancing rules and have good ventilation.
• Wedding receptions will be allowed for up to 100 attendees with PET for all. If the reception has 50 attendees or fewer, PET will be required only for the wedding party, which can have up to 20 attendees. Dining in is allowed.
• Performers can remove their masks and sing or play wind instruments during live performances. This includes performances at worship services.
• Fitness studios and gyms may resume activities which involve removing one's mask, with safe distancing of at least 2m between individuals, even within a group, and 3m between groups of individuals.
Sports classes, both indoors and outdoors, will be limited to 30 people, including the instructor, and groups must consist of no more than five people.
• In-person tuition and enrichment classes for those aged 18 and below will be allowed to resume.
These include classes involving singing or the playing of wind instruments.
3. What other measures are being taken?
• Mandatory regular testing will be implemented for staff working in F&B establishments with dining in, personal care services requiring the removal of masks, and gyms or fitness studios where customers are unmasked.
The "fast and easy" testing regime will, for example, use antigen rapid tests for all staff regardless of vaccination status. More details will be announced later.
• Covid-19 self-test kits will be sold by pharmacists at Guardian, Unity and Watsons pharmacies from June 16.
Sales will be initially limited to 10 antigen rapid test (ART) kits per person to ensure there are adequate supplies for all.
The ART kits produce results in less than 20 minutes, are simple to use and can be self-administered. They can be used for people who had been to a place that a confirmed case had visited, for instance.
• Singaporeans aged 12 to 39 can book their vaccination appointments from June 11, as the Republic continues to extend its national vaccination programme.
Those who have recovered from Covid-19 infection should also receive a single dose of vaccine as there is evidence indicating that a single dose would further boost their immunity against Covid-19.
• Employers must ensure that employees who can work from home continue to do so even as Singapore reopens gradually.
• As some activities will remain closed until June 20, the Government will extend the current enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme for affected sectors.
• The Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi and private-hire drivers will also be extended.
• The prevailing limit on funerals will remain at 20 people at any point in time on all days.
Barbeque pits and campsites also remain closed to the public, including those in parks, HDB estates, condominiums and country clubs.
4. Will border controls be eased?
Reopening Singapore's local community and restarting the economy in a safe manner is the Government's immediate priority before border measures can be eased.
Only after the local situation is stable will Singapore have space and capacity to think about how its borders can be relaxed, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, said.
When asked if expatriates who have called Singapore their home but currently live outside the country will have a chance to return, Mr Gan said: "We are very conscious that there are expats who are coming back to Singapore, they have been staying here and working from Singapore for many years... we are constantly reviewing our border control measures."
5. What will happen to the travel bubble with Hong Kong?
Singapore and Hong Kong will review their air travel bubble arrangement in early July, before deciding on target launch dates.
At a multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 press conference on Thursday, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said he had a discussion with his counterpart from Hong Kong recently where they both acknowledged that it is important for both parties to put in place safe management measures in order for travel to open up.
"One of the key measure is really to enhance our vaccination rate," he added.
"Once we have a very high vaccination rate, then it opens up a lot more possibilities and offers greater flexibility, even in international travelling." - The Straits Times/Asia News Network