S'pore's new Covid-19 rules: Can family living together go out in groups of more than 2?

People loitering outside Paya Lebar Square on May 13, 2021.
People loitering outside Paya Lebar Square on May 13, 2021.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - With Singapore set to enter a new wave of restrictions from Sunday (May 16), much confusion surrounds the "rule of two".

The Straits Times answers questions on what you can and cannot do.

Going out and leisure activities

Q: Can members of the same household go out in groups of more than two people?

A: Yes, family members living together can go out as one group to do essential activities, such as to attend school or for medical appointments.

They can also go out together as a family unit to take care of their elderly relatives, such as their grandparents, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Saturday. He added that for grocery shopping, however, they should try to keep this to two family members only, to minimise the family’s exposure to the virus.

The Health Ministry (MOH) said it recognises that there may also be occasions when members of the same household may need to move around in groups larger than two, especially those with young children or elderly parents. 

When members of the same household may need to move about in groups larger than two, they should bring along proof of identity such as NRICs to facilitate the checking of particulars by enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors, who will be patrolling public spaces.

As such, the ministry is prepared to be flexible in its implementation of the general rule for such bona fide cases. However, households are strongly urged to observe the prevailing group size limits in public settings and venues as far as possible. 

Q: Can two people eat outside of home in a public place, such as at the beach, the park or even the void deck? Are picnics allowed? What about people like food delivery personnel who may not have anywhere to eat?

A: While the consumption of food and drinks at public spaces, like parks, is not prohibited, this should be done in instances when it would be inconvenient to return to the home or workplace to eat.

In such cases, members of the public or workers should avoid crowded spaces and minimise social interactions, including maintaining safe distancing at all times.

Q: Can my parents continue to come over to my place to take care of my children, and can I send my children to their place as well?

A: Yes, you can continue to do so, said Mr Ong. He added that families who require childcare support can get the grandparents to go over to help, but they should keep to a cap of two visitors per household per day. 

Parents can also send their children to their grandparents’ place, without worrying about the visitor cap, he added.

Individuals should continue to limit their total number of social gatherings to no more than two a day, whether it is to another household, or meeting friends and family members in a public place.

Q: My wedding will be held on Sunday, the first day the new rules kick in. It is too late to make last-minute arrangements. Will it still be allowed to proceed?

A: A special exception will be made for wedding receptions on Sunday to proceed. However, this is subject to the conditions that only up to 100 attendees are allowed and that all unvaccinated attendees must undergo pre-event testing.

Q: Are there any changes to the solemnisation guidelines if it is done at the Registry of Marriages building?

A: A maximum of 10 people, including the bride and groom, are allowed for solemnisations in the Registry of Marriages and Registry of Muslim Marriages buildings.

For solemnisations held in a place of residence, a maximum of 10 people are allowed, including the bride and groom. This number is not inclusive of the solemniser and other vendors.

For solemnisations in other venues, the capacity limit is 100 people, or the safe capacity of the venue, whichever is lower.

This is down from the previous cap of 250 people. If there are between 51 and 100 attendees, pre-event testing is required for all unvaccinated attendees.

Q: Will there be any limit on hair services, such as hair treatments that may take a couple of hours?

A: There is no time limit for hair services, but masks must be worn by customers and staff at all times. Customers can enter the premises only 10 minutes prior to the start of their appointment session and should refrain from mingling with other customers or staff. All safe management measures should be strictly adhered to.


There is no time limit for hair services, but masks must be worn by customers and staff at all times. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Q: Can I proceed with my booked staycation if it is more than two people? Can a family of three who have booked a staycation before June 13 still be allowed to go ahead?

A: Only two guests are allowed per room, except where individuals are all from the same household. No dining in is allowed at hotel food and beverage (F&B) establishments.

Those with hotel bookings between May 16 and June 13 may change their booking dates or request a refund, subject to terms and conditions.

Those who have used their SingapoRediscovers vouchers for hotel bookings during the period can have the vouchers refunded.

Sports

Q: Can I go out to cycle, swim or run?

A: Yes, you can swim outdoors alone or in a group of no more than two people, including yourself. The same rule applies for running and cycling.

Q: Can I exercise outdoors with my family if there are more than two of us, like take a walk in the park together?

A: Yes, you can. However you should split into pairs and maintain safe distancing between individuals (2m) and different groups (3m) while exercising.

Q: Will indoor sports halls still be open if it involves games between just two people?

A: Indoor facilities, including gyms, fitness studios, sports halls, indoor swimming pools and squash courts will continue to be closed from May 8 to June 13, unless they offer only low-intensity physical activities where the participants and instructors can be masked at all times.

There will also be no sharing or supplying of common equipment. Some examples of these activities are yoga, pilates, and tai chi.


There will also be no sharing or supplying of common equipment. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Q: Will there still be outdoor sports programmes and classes for large groups?

A: Yes. However, the activity must be of low intensity with masks on at all times. Multiple groups of two are allowed to join in, but there is a capacity limit of 30 participants or capacity limit of the venue, whichever is lower. The groups are not to intermingle and must remain 3m apart.

If the activity is of high intensity where masks have to be removed, only two people will be allowed, including the instructor or the coach. Multiple groups of two will not be allowed.

Q: Can I still play sports like badminton, basketball and table tennis?

A: Yes, but only in a group of no more than two people (that is, two individuals playing against each other). Masks must be worn at all times when playing indoors, though they can be taken off during strenuous outdoor activities.

Schools

Q: Will students be allowed to eat in the canteen, since dining in is not allowed?

A: Yes they can, but the schools will enforce a fixed seating plan with 1m spacing during recess time, with no intermingling.

Others

Q: Employers must ensure that no more than 50 per cent of employees who can work from home return to the workplaces at any time - does this still hold?

A: No. Safe management measures at the workplaces will be tightened. Employers must ensure that all employees who are able to work from home do so. Previously, up to 50 per cent of employees who are able to work from home could be at the workplaces at any time.

Q: Will photo shoots/productions that involve more than two be allowed?

A: From May 16 to June 13, media content production companies may proceed with the default of up to 15 crew or talents on location, including no more than 10 onscreen talents who may unmask if necessary.

All productions should not have audiences on site and safe distancing of 1m has to be strictly adhered to at all times.

The guidelines are also applicable for photo shoots.

Q: Are home renovation works and construction projects allowed to continue from May 16 to June 13?

A: Yes, they are allowed. However, if there are people residing within the household where the works or services are carried out, there should not be more than two workers allowed per day.

Q: Can more than two people share a taxi or private-hire car if they are from different households?

A: Taxis and private-hire cars can take more than two passengers only if they are all from the same household. Passengers from different households have to keep to the two-passenger limit.