SINGAPORE - A capacity curb on vehicles ferrying workers has been lifted.
The move to do away with the 25 per cent reduction in carrying capacity is in line with the beginning of Singapore's phase three of reopening, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Monday (Dec 28).
They had in late May announced the reduction in maximum passenger capacity as the country prepared to resume business at the end of the circuit breaker on June 2.
Other safe management measures will remain in place. The MOM said that workers should continue to wear a mask at all times in the vehicle and that they should not talk or interact while on board.
Employers must also continue to arrange private transportation for workers staying in dormitories to commute to and from their workplaces. These vehicles must not be carrying any other passengers.
"These measures are necessary to prevent cross-infections between migrant workers living in dormitories and the community, in both directions," said the MOM. "If necessary, employers should make provisions for additional trips or vehicles," it added.
The curb has had a large impact on employers both financially and operationally over the past few months.
"If you decrease the capacity of each vehicle by 25 per cent, then the number of vehicles you require for transportation must increase by at least 25 per cent as well, leading to higher financial costs as well as making operations more difficult as workers have to be transported separately," said chief operating officer of Straits Construction Kenneth Loo.
He added the news was welcome but people cannot afford to be complacent just because the country has moved into phase three.
In April, 28 employers were hit with $1,000 fines each for failing to ensure compliance with safe distancing measures.
The employers were caught after their lorries were stopped and checked in an islandwide multi-agency enforcement operation by the MOM, LTA and Traffic Police.
In May, a video of a lorry with partitions installed to ensure safe distancing went viral online. The clip was part of a demonstration video sent as part of a proposal to the MOM for consultation. The MOM and LTA subsequently said that the set-up was unsafe and advised against its use.