SINGAPORE - Groups of up to 10 fully vaccinated people will be allowed to dine in at food and beverage (F&B) outlets, and the current 10.30pm cut-off for alcohol sales and consumption will be lifted from next Tuesday (March 29).
Additionally, live performances will be allowed to resume at all venues. The screening of live broadcast programmes and recorded entertainment at F&B outlets can also start again.
However, nightlife businesses comprising bars, pubs, karaoke establishments, discotheques and nightclubs will still have to wait to resume, as the authorities are still assessing the safety of giving them the green light to do so.
Changes to Covid-19 curbs were announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a national address and at a Covid-19 multi-ministry task force press conference that followed.
In his address, PM Lee outlined changes to safe management measures (SMMs), announcing that with the risk of outdoor transmission significantly lower, wearing masks outdoors will become optional - but it will remain mandatory indoors.
The permissible group size will be doubled from the current five people to 10.
In line with the increase on group size limits, F&B establishments such as restaurants, hawker centres and coffee shops, where vaccination-differentiated SMM (VDS) checks have been implemented at their entrances, will be allowed to seat smaller groups of up to five fully vaccinated people without the need for full VDS checks at the entrance.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, speaking at the press conference, said this is to ease the operational burden on operators.
He said: "We recognise that some F&B operators face difficulties putting in place these access control points and doing these checks on their customers, especially for operators of coffee shops and hawker centres.
"So we will make some adjustments to the implementation on the ground, and in particular, we will allow all F&B establishments to seat groups of up to five fully vaccinated persons without the need for full checks at the entrance."
Instead, random spot checks will be done to ensure that only vaccinated persons are dining at these places, and the onus will be on the people to abide by the rules, said Mr Wong.
This will make it easier for the F&B operators that face difficulties in cordoning off their venues and setting up discrete access control points, especially hawker centres and coffee shops.
Live performances and the screening of live programmes will also be allowed to resume.
Outdoor live performances and busking will also be allowed to recommence. Groups that are involved in the performances will have to comply with the prevailing SMMs, such as keeping to the group size of 10 unmasked people.
Group vocalisation activities, such as congregational singing and chanting; cheering by audiences, spectators and event participants; as well as singing in general settings such as schools, will be allowed as long as masks are worn throughout.
Mr Wong said that the authorities are also looking into the safe resumption of nightlife businesses.
"These are activities with much higher risks of transmission and where there are generally more difficulties complying with the prevailing SMMs in these settings, so the agencies are still looking into the resumption of these settings," he added.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Home Affairs will provide an update on the reopening of the sector in the coming weeks.