Gyms and other higher-risk settings to be closed; size limits on large events tightened

These stricter rules will affect congregational worship services, weddings and funerals, sporting events and live performances. PHOTOS: ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM, LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE, WEDDING BY LQ, KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Higher-risk settings such as gyms will be shut and size limits on large events tightened from this Saturday (May 8), given the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the community. (Note: An updated advisory was issued by Sport Singapore on May 7 allowing low-intensity physical activities)

These stricter rules - that are set to last until May 30 - will affect congregational worship services, weddings and funerals, sporting events and live performances.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the measures essentially take Singapore back to phase two of its reopening, but do not amount to a circuit breaker.

And the authorities will not hesitate to take even more stringent measures down the road should new unlinked cases and large clusters continue to emerge, he added.

Congregational worship services will have to implement pre-event testing for gatherings of more than 100 people. Such gatherings are capped at 250 people, and singing will no longer be allowed.

Wedding solemnisations of up to 250 attendees - including the couple, but excluding the solemniser and vendors - may proceed, with guests split into zones of 50. But pre-event testing will be required for the wedding couple in gatherings of more than 50 people.

Similarly, wedding receptions with up to 250 guests may continue in zones or time slots of up to 50 guests each. But all receptions involving more than 50 attendees will have to implement pre-event testing for all attendees, given the higher risks involved.

"In a wedding setting, the risks are higher," Mr Wong said. "People are gathered together without masks and eating."

At funerals, the cap on attendees on the day of burial or cremation will be reduced from 50 to 30.

In addition, all mass participation sporting events will be suspended and no spectators will be allowed.

And for live performances, pilot business-to-business events and cinemas, the maximum number of attendees will be reduced from 750 to 250. All events of more than 100 attendees will have to put in place pre-event testing.

Lastly, the operating capacity of libraries and museums will be reduced from 65 per cent to 50 per cent, and the maximum tour size offered by tour operators and tourist guides will be reduced from 50 attendees to 20 attendees.

Higher-risk settings, such as indoor gyms and fitness studios, will also be closed as these have a tendency to be hot spots for Covid-19 transmission.

"These are small enclosed spaces where people are frequently unmasked while exercising, and in close proximity with many other unmasked people," the Health Ministry said.

However, outdoor organised exercise programmes may still continue, provided class sizes are limited to a maximum of 30 people and safe distancing measures are in place.

The ministry added that it would continue to monitor other higher-risk settings such as indoor sports halls, spas and massage parlours.

"If the community cases situation does not improve, we will consider taking further actions on these higher-risk settings and activities," it said.

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