SINGAPORE - Up to 500 people will be able to attend religious services in a place of worship from Aug 10, amid a relaxation of Covid-19 measures that will also see a lifting of the pre-event testing requirement for worshippers.
The current phase two (heightened alert) restrictions require worshippers to undergo pre-event testing if they are in groups of between 50 and 100 people, unless they have been vaccinated previously or can produce an exemption notice. The maximum capacity at places of worship is currently 100 people.
With the change, up to 500 worshippers may congregate, so long as all of them, religious workers and support staff are vaccinated, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Saturday (Aug 7).
It added that an individual is considered vaccinated if they have received the full vaccine regimen (with an additional two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective), recovered from Covid-19, or tested negative in pre-event testing taken in the past 24 hours before an event is expected to end.
From Aug 10, worshippers will be gathered in groups of 50 each, and located in different zones. Unvaccinated worshippers are limited to a maximum total crowd size of 50.
The ministry said as part of Singapore's transition towards Covid-19 resilience, the measures may be further relaxed from Aug 19 should the situation remain under control, to a limit of 1,000 vaccinated worshippers.
MCCY added that worship services should be kept to as short a duration as possible, with no reception or mingling between, during or after each service.
All attendees must wear masks, unless they are children aged below six, but they are still strongly encouraged to use one.
"Face shields are not permitted as substitutes for face masks," it said.
Up to 10 out of a maximum of 30 live performers during worship services may be unmasked to sing or play wind or brass instruments, if all performers and audience members are vaccinated.
Antigen rapid testing is also required for those who will be unmasked. The performance must be set at least 3m away from the worshippers.
The ministry said a maximum of five worshippers will be allowed to congregate for religious rites, up from the previous two.
However, all other religious activities, such as religious classes, will still not allowed.
From Aug 19, these activities may be allowed in groups of up to 50, if the pandemic situation permits, added MCCY.
As for marriage solemnisations, it said up to 500 attendees may attend without needing pre-event testing if all are vaccinated.
This may see a rise to 1,000 come Aug 19. However, only 50 may attend if any are unvaccinated.
Those recording and broadcasting digital religious services for worshippers may congregate in groups of up to 30, up from the current 15.
Up to 10 involved in such activities can be unmasked at any one time, with no more than two unmasked for singing, or playing wind or brass instruments.
These two individuals must maintain 2m distance from all other individuals, up from the usual 1m.
Religious organisations will no longer have to notify MCCY before conducting such digital services from Tuesday, the ministry said.