Coronavirus: S'pore to start phase 2 reopening on June 19; F&B dine-in, social gatherings of up to 5 people allowed

Cleaners removing masking tapes from tables at Lau Pa Sat on June 15, 2020.
Cleaners removing masking tapes from tables at Lau Pa Sat on June 15, 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Singapore moves to phase two of its reopening this Friday (June 19), as a range of restrictions will be eased to allow more business and social activities to resume, the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 announced on Monday.

People can also get together socially in groups of up to five, and households can receive up to five visitors at any one time.

But individuals will still have to keep a safe distance of at least 1m from others.

Where this is not feasible, groups of no more than five persons should be at least 1m apart - with no mixing between groups.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force, noted that the number of community cases over the past two weeks since Singapore exited the circuit breaker has remained stable. The incidence of cases in migrant worker dormitories has also declined, and there are no new large clusters emerging.

This paves the way for phase two, where most activities can resume.

But further reopening must be done safely, with group sizes and capacity limits in place, the task force cautioned.

- Dining-in, personal health and wellness, as well as home-based services such as private tuition, enrichment or piano lessons can resume, except for singing or voice training classes.

- At restaurants and hawker centres, each table will be limited to five people.

- Retail shops, park facilities, sports and other public facilities, including stadiums, swimming pools, golf courses, playgrounds, bowling centres and fitness studios, will also be able to reopen. This applies to similar facilities in private settings such as condominiums and clubs.

- Registered clubs and societies will be allowed to operate at their registered premises

- Face-to-face visits at nursing homes can also resume with precautionary measures in place.

- All healthcare services and services for seniors, including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), aesthetic services, eldercare services and senior activity centres, will gradually be allowed to reopen.

 
 
 
 

At all times, people should continue to adhere to safe distancing guidelines and keep a distance of 1m from others when they are out, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Masks will also remain a must when people head outdoors, including in schools.

But higher-risk activities, including religious services and congregations, conferences and trade fairs will not yet be allowed, as such settings can spawn large clusters of infections, said Mr Gan.

Seniors, a vulnerable group, should also continue to stay home as much as they can.

At this stage of reopening, live music and television and video screenings will not be allowed in all food and beverage outlets, and they have to cease liquor sales and consumption at 10.30pm.

Karaoke outlets, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres as well as libraries, museums and other large cultural and entertainment venues will not be allowed to resume yet.

The reopening of indoor and outdoor attractions will also take more time.

The complete list of businesses that are allowed to operate can be found on the Ministry of Trade and Industry's website. Those on the list do not need to apply for an exemption before resuming operations.

Precautions still have to be taken.

Larger public venues with high human traffic such as malls and large standalone retail outlets will be subject to capacity limits, and operators must prevent crowds or long queues from building up within and around their premises, said MOH.

Where possible, employees should also continue to work from home.

Companies should also maintain split-team arrangements, which will allow business to continue functioning in the event of an outbreak.

From June 29, schools will also fully reopen, with students returning to school daily. Currently, most students in primary and secondary schools alternate between being physically in school and doing home-based learning on a weekly basis.

More flexibility will be allowed for weddings, wakes and funerals. Up to 20 people will be allowed to attend weddings at other venues outside of one's home or the Registry of Marriages, excluding the solemniser.

Up to 20 people can also be present at wakes and funerals, up from the current limit of 10.

 
 
 
 

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, added that enforcement officers will continue to ensure that safe distancing rules are being adhered to in restaurants, parks and other venues.

But Singaporeans must remain vigilant and not let their guard down even as the country removes more restrictions, said Mr Gan.

More community cases can be expected with the resumption of activities and stepped-up testing efforts, and the public has to play its part to keep new cases under control and prevent large clusters, he added.

"This way, our efforts over the last two months will not be wasted and we can safely move towards phase three ... in time to come."

More details will be announced by the relevant agencies in the next few days.