Work from home to be default, no dining in allowed: What are the new Covid-19 rules in S'pore from May 16?

Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so.
Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - New measures were announced on Friday (May 14) by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, in the light of increased community cases.

They will take effect from this Sunday for a month to June 13. A review will be taken after two weeks to see if the measures need to be adjusted further.

The new measures are:

1. Reduced group size from five to two people

The current permissible group size will be cut from the current five people to two. The cap of five distinct visitors per household per day will also be reduced to two distinct visitors per household per day.

In a statement, the task force said that individuals should continue to limit their overall number of social gatherings to not more than two per day, whether to another household, or meeting friends and family members in a public place.

But grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents on a daily basis would not be counted towards the cap of two distinct visitors per household, or to the number of social gatherings per day.

However, the task force strongly encouraged grandparents to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to protect both themselves and their grandchildren from infection.

To reduce the risk of transmission, grandparents should also minimise intermingling between grandchildren from different households.

There will be some flexibility for family members who may need to move in bigger groups - especially those with young children or elderly parents - to go for medical appointments, attend classes or go to work in the same vehicle, for instance.

People from different households who use public amenities like playgrounds and fitness corners should keep to groups of two and maintain safe distancing. 

READ FULL STORY: Social gatherings capped at 2 people from May 16 

2. No dine in allowed, among tighter measures for higher-risk settings

Safe management measures are tightened for higher-risk settings, such as when there is a high density of people who are without masks for a prolonged period.

All dining in will cease, including at hawker centres and foodcourts, indoors and outdoors.

Wedding banquets will have to cease. However, a special arrangement can be made for those with wedding plans this Sunday. They can proceed, but with required pre-event testing for all guests.

Food and beverage establishments will allow only takeaway or delivery.

Other activities that will also not be allowed include strenuous indoor exercise classes or strenuous individual and group indoor sports and exercise activities.

Personalised services which require masks to be removed such as facials and saunas, singing, and the playing of instruments that require intentional expulsion of air like for wind or brass instruments will also not be allowed.

But medical and dental services can continue.

READ FULL STORY: No dining in at F&B outlets, hawker centres 

3. Work from home as default for workplaces

Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so, the task force said. Those who need employees to return to the workplaces should have staggered start times and flexible working hours for staff.

Social gatherings at the workplaces will not be allowed. Meal breaks can be taken at the workplaces, but staff should refrain from intermingling with their colleagues when their masks are taken off.

READ FULL STORY: Work from home to be default, workplace social gatherings banned 

4. Reduced event sizes and mall capacity

Worship: Only 50 people are allowed at events without pre-event testing, and 100 with pre-event testing. This will apply to congregational and worship services. Live singing will be suspended during this time.

Malls: The occupancy limits for shopping malls and showrooms will be further reduced from the current limit of 10 sq m per person of gross floor area, to 16 sq m per person. Odd and even date entry restrictions on Sunday for popular malls will continue.

Places of attraction: The operating capacity of attractions with approval will be cut to 25 per cent from the current 50 per cent. Indoor and outdoor shows can proceed with up to 100 people with pre-event testing, and 50 people without testing.

Museums and public libraries can operate with a reduced capacity of 25 per cent.

Up to 100 people may be allowed into cinema halls with pre-event testing, but only 50 are allowed without testing.

The same rule applies for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

Weddings: Wedding receptions will not be allowed. Marriage solemnisations may continue for up to 100 participants with pre-event testing, and 50 participants without testing.

Funerals: The cap for attendees is applicable to all days of the funeral, including the burial and cremation, at 20 people or fewer, down from 30 people currently.

READ FULL STORY: Wedding receptions banned, tighter crowd controls at malls 

5. Enhanced testing

Antigen rapid testing (ART) will be given for all who present themselves with acute respiratory infection symptoms at the Swab and Send Home Public Health Preparedness Clinics (Sash PHPCs), polyclinics, emergency departments and regional swab centres (RSCs). This will be done together with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

The time from swab registration to notification of results is typically around 30 minutes for ART, but can take up to 48 hours for PCR tests.

Both tests will be funded by the Government for all individuals with those symptoms.

This enhanced testing regime will be rolled out progressively, starting with around 200 Sash PHPCs that are already licensed as ART providers from May 15, and will be expanded to include all Sash PHPCs through May alongside polyclinics, emergency departments and RSCs.

READ FULL STORY: Rapid tests to be used in S'pore on top of PCR tests