Groups of up to five can dine in together from next week

Cap for social gatherings to rise once 50% of population is vaccinated

Singapore's step-by-step reopening remains on track, with larger groups of up to five people allowed to dine in at eateries from next Monday and more restrictions likely to be relaxed by the end of the month.

The curbs are being eased in tandem with the Republic's rising vaccination rate.

Two-thirds of the population would have received at least the first dose of the vaccine by now, and the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 expects half of the population to be fully vaccinated by the end of the month.

Once that milestone is reached, and if the situation remains stable, the cap for social gatherings could be increased to eight, said the task force.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, said wedding receptions for up to 250 people will also be allowed with pre-event testing from next Monday.

Gyms and fitness studios can conduct indoor sports and exercise classes for up to 50 people, with safe management measures in place.

Working from home will remain the default arrangement, though social and recreational gatherings at the workplace will be allowed for up to five people, he said at a virtual press conference.

Wage support under the Jobs Support Scheme will be reduced to 10 per cent from July 12 to 25 for businesses affected by the recent round of restrictions from May 16 to July 11, such as those in food and beverage and sports. They had been receiving up to 50 per cent support.

All eligible individuals in Singapore have now been offered vaccination, with 5.9 million shots administered as at Tuesday, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who also co-chairs the task force.

Further easing can be expected around the week of July 26, when half of the population is expected to have two doses of vaccines, up from about four in 10 now. Those who have been fully vaccinated will face less restrictions than others, the co-chairs said.

Mr Wong outlined several measures that the task force is considering.

The group size for higher-risk activities like dining in at eateries could be increased to eight as well if all in the group are fully vaccinated. Otherwise, the group size for dining in will remain at five people.

Separately, the crowd size could be doubled to 500 people for events such as cinema screenings, congregational worship, Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events, live performances, spectator sports and wedding solemnisations - if they are all fully vaccinated.

In the next phase of reopening, more workers may also be allowed to return to the workplace, based on the percentage of total employees who are fully vaccinated.

Mr Wong said these plans are part of a broader reopening road map that will cover both measures within Singapore and travel-related guidelines.

"We hope all of this will once again encourage everyone to take up the vaccination, or to bring forward your appointments and get vaccinated earlier," he added.

Last month, the task force spelt out its plans to gradually transition Singapore to the new normal of living with endemic Covid-19 after the target of fully vaccinating two-thirds of residents by National Day on Aug 9 has been reached.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday urged those who have not been vaccinated to sign up as soon as they can.

"Our vaccination programme is on track...Thanks to everyone's cooperation, we are a step closer to moving on from Covid-19. Let's keep working together," he wrote on Facebook.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2021, with the headline Groups of up to five can dine in together from next week. Subscribe