SINGAPORE - Congregants will be allowed to sing during worship services from April 5, but only for up to a total of 30 minutes and without removing their masks, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) announced on Wednesday (March 31).
Places of worship opened for private worship in June last year as part of phase one of Singapore's post-circuit breaker reopening, but congregants were not permitted to sing.
In its release on Wednesday, MCCY said that good ventilation must be maintained if worshippers are to sing. This can be done through opening doors and windows, or using air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems to remove any accumulated lingering droplets.
The worship venue must be wiped down between worship services, and religious organisations are also encouraged to implement a greater safe distance of 2m between groups of up to eight worshippers if they are singing.
There should also be no sharing of prayer books and other common items, such as holy books, offertory baskets or prayer mats as this increases the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Instead, worshippers should bring their personal prayer items when required.
Aside from the announcement about congregational singing, MCCY said on Wednesday that the number of people involved in conducting the worship service, such as performers and video crew, would remain capped at 30. Only five of them may remove their masks to sing, which also remains unchanged.
However from April 5, the rest of the 30 people involved in conducting the worship service may now choose to sing with their masks on.
There must be at least 3m distance between those involved in live performance elements and the worshippers, said MCCY.
In addition, from April 24, up to 250 people will be allowed to attend marriage solemnisations in places of worship if the wedding couple goes for pre-event testing. This is up from the previous limit of 100 people.
The attendance cap for funerals and wakes in places of worship will also be increased to 50 people at any one time from April 24, but only on the day of the burial or cremation. This is up from the previous limit of 30 people at any one time.
MCCY added that from April 19, any religious organisations conducting congregational and other worship services for more than 100 people must deploy the SafeEntry Gateway at their main entrances as an additional check-in mode.
This is not required for religious organisations conducting congregational and other worship services for 100 people or fewer.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong wrote: "With the resumption of congregational singing with masks on and other safe management measures in place, religious organisations can further address the religious needs of Singaporeans."
He added that masked singing would also be allowed for arts and culture classes and live performances, and more details would be released soon.
"The past year has been extremely challenging, particularly for our religious organisations and arts practitioners who had to limit the capacity and types of activities to keep Singaporeans safe.
"I would like to thank our religious and arts communities for their continued understanding and support, even as my team at MCCY continues to work with all stakeholders on the safe resumption of more community activities."