Singapore: Seniors discouraged from attending religious activities, no religious classes for kids until Oct 10

Although religious services are not banned in Singapore, some places of worship, like Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, have decided to close temporarily. - The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE, Sept 25 (The Straits Times/ANN): Seniors aged 60 and above are strongly encouraged to avoid attending religious activities even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and children will be barred from participating in non-congregational religious activities, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Saturday.

These follow the previous day's announcement by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 about tightening community safe management measures from Sept 27 until Oct 24.

From Sept 27, non-congregational religious activities, such as religious classes and pastoral services, for children aged 12 and below will be suspended for two weeks until Oct 10. They will still be allowed to attend worship services held in line with safety measures.

Those above the age of 12 may continue to attend activities such as religious rites and classes as long as these are conducted in gatherings of 50 or fewer people, with each group comprising no more than two people.

MCCY encourages a 2m distance between groups of people attending religious classes, and religious organisations are strongly encouraged to conduct classes online if possible.

From Sept 27, funerals, wakes, and post-funeral rites at places of worship must have no more than 30 attendees in groups of two at any one time.

Although religious services are not banned, some places of worship have decided to close temporarily, such as Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street.

A spokesman for the temple told The Strait Times: "The temple wishes to inform all devotees that, in line with the new restrictions to scale back social interactions to slow down community transmission of Covid-19, and for the safety of all devotees, the temple will be temporarily closed from Sept 27 to Oct 24."

Since Aug 19, places of worship have been adhering to safety guidelines that will mostly remain in place during the multi-ministry task force's stipulated Covid-19 stabilisation period from Sept 27.

There are no changes to guidelines on congregational and worship services. Services can be held for up to 50 people if they are unvaccinated, and for up to 1,000 worshippers separated in zones holding no more than 50 people each, if all worshippers, as well as religious and supporting workers, are vaccinated against Covid-19.

MCCY said: "We strongly encourage all religious and supporting workers (including cleaners and volunteers) to undergo a self-administered antigen rapid test before they are deployed on-site during this period, even if they are fully vaccinated."

Religious organisations may continue to use places of worship to conduct marriage solemnisations.

Solemnisations can be held with up to 50 persons attending - including the bride and groom - if there are unvaccinated attendees, whereas solemnisations with vaccinated attendees can have up to 1,000 of them. - The Straits Times/ANN
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