Coronavirus: Weathering the storm

Relief from legal obligations over cancelled large gatherings

Guests at a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, sitting at tables that were placed at least a metre apart.
Guests at a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, sitting at tables that were placed at least a metre apart.PHOTO: ST FILE

People who may have to forfeit deposits because of cancelled large gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak will receive support and relief from legal obligations.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, in unveiling a $48 billion supplementary budget yesterday, noted that providing relief from legal obligations that have arisen because of the Covid-19 situation is also an "important and complementary" part of help measures.

"It is no fault of theirs that they cannot perform these obligations. For example, people may have paid deposits for a big gathering that now cannot go ahead.

"It is not their fault that the gathering cannot go ahead," he said in Parliament.

"Should the deposits be simply forfeited? That won't be right."

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said that the Government is studying the issue, and that Law Minister K. Shanmugam will present a set of measures next week to deal with this matter.

Major events that were called off or postponed in Singapore in recent months due to the outbreak include golfing tournament HSBC Women's World Championship, IT Show 2020, the Income Eco Run, the annual DBS Marina Regatta and concerts such as those by K-pop group Got7 and Taiwanese singer Jam Hsiao.

More cancellations may be ahead amid stricter rules on large gatherings to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in Singapore.

The stricter rules include limiting gatherings outside of work and school to 10 people or fewer.

 
 

Events and mass gatherings including conferences, concerts and sporting events must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size.

Melissa Heng

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'Relief from legal obligations over cancelled large gatherings'. Print Edition | Subscribe