SINGAPORE - People will be able to gather in groups of up to five from next Monday (June 14), as Singapore eases restrictions in two stages following a steady drop in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community.
Should the situation remain under control, a further relaxation of the rules - including permitting dining in at food and beverage outlets - may take place a week later, on June 21. This will mean that dining in will not be allowed for Father's Day, which falls on June 20.
But working from home will remain the default, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Thursday (June 10). This is to reduce overall footfall and interaction at public areas in or near the workplace, as well as on public transport.
"Even as we progressively resume more activities, I urge everyone to remain vigilant," said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force tackling the pandemic. "We may continue to see a few cases every day, but that's the nature of the virus. What we hope and aim to do is to keep the number low overall and avoid large clusters."
Besides increasing the size of social gatherings, the first step of Singapore's reopening on June 14 will see operating capacity limits for attractions, cruises, museums and public libraries go up from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.
The size limits for events such as movie screenings, live performances, worship services and marriage solemnisations will also be increased. Pre-event testing will be required for events with more than 50 attendees.
Groups of up to five per room will be allowed for hotel stays, up from two currently.
In the second step, slated to take place from June 21, dine-in for groups of up to five may be allowed. The authorities will be "significantly stepping up enforcement and will take firmer enforcement action for any breaches", said MOH.
Other activities such as wedding receptions and the playing of wind instruments at live performances will also resume.
MOH said gyms and fitness studios may resume indoor mask-off sports activities, with safe distancing of at least 2m between people and at least 3m between groups of up to five people.
Indoor and outdoor sports classes will be capped at 30 people, including the instructor, and in groups of five.
In-person tuition and enrichment classes for those aged 18 and below can resume with enhanced safe management measures in place. These measures will be announced by the Education Ministry.
Higher-risk arts and culture classes such as singing and wind instruments will also be allowed to resume, MOH said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was glad that the past three weeks of tightened restrictions have brought the Covid-19 situation under control.
"This was only possible because of everyone's cooperation. We can begin to gradually ease Covid-19 measures from 14 June starting with increasing the size of social gatherings from 2 to 5 persons. If all goes well, dining-in can resume on 21 June," he added.
"Do continue to observe safe management measures and get vaccinated when it is offered to you. Let's stay safe and keep working together."