Coronavirus: Limits on people at weddings, wakes to be eased from Tuesday

The Registry of Marriages. For marriage solemnisations held at home, at the Registries of Civil and Muslim Marriages building and designated areas at the National Museum of Singapore, the current 10-person limit will remain in place even from next Tu
The Registry of Marriages. For marriage solemnisations held at home, at the Registries of Civil and Muslim Marriages building and designated areas at the National Museum of Singapore, the current 10-person limit will remain in place even from next Tuesday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Up to 50 at wedding ceremonies; wakes, funerals can have 30 people

More people will be able to attend weddings, wakes and funerals from next Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies, including the couple getting married but excluding the solemniser and vendor staff for the event.

And up to 30 people, including the grieving family members, will be able to attend wakes and funerals at any one time.

The MOH said this would allow more family members and friends to pay their last respects.

The current limit for both types of events is 20 people.

This has been in place since phase two of Singapore's reopening started on June 19.

For marriage solemnisations held at home, at the Registries of Civil and Muslim Marriages building and designated areas at the National Museum of Singapore, the current 10-person limit will remain in place even from Tuesday.

The limit has been in effect since phase one of Singapore's reopening began on June 2.

This is because these venues tend to be smaller, the MOH said yesterday.

The ministry said it will also launch a pilot scheme under which each couple will be allowed to hold one wedding reception in venues that are permitted to serve food and drinks, such as hotels and restaurants.

This will also be limited to 50 attendees, including the couple, for the entire duration of the event.

 
 
 

All other wedding-related activities, such as customary rites and ceremonies, would have to adhere to prevailing limits for general gatherings, which are up to five visitors to a household or groups of five outside the home.

Venue operators and owners holding these events must ensure that the physical set-up and event arrangements comply with the limits on group size and other safe management measures, the MOH said.

Through the pilot, the multi-ministry task force handling the coronavirus pandemic will assess the ability of organisers and venue owners to ensure that the necessary safe management measures are put in place and adhered to.

This will inform the task force's subsequent reviews of the limits on such events.

"As these receptions remain of higher risk, we seek couples' understanding and compliance with these guidelines, to keep their family members and friends safe, so that all present can look back on the event with happy memories," the MOH said.

"We also seek Singaporeans' understanding that there is still a need to limit our total risk exposure so that we can keep community transmission low while resuming key activities."

The new limits are subject to the venue's capacity limit based on safe management principles, and prevailing measures must also be strictly adhered to, the MOH said.

During the circuit breaker period from April 7 to June 1, marriages could be solemnised only virtually, after a law was passed in May to allow this.

When Singapore entered phase one of the reopening on June 2, in-person weddings were allowed to proceed with a maximum of 10 people attending the ceremony, including the couple.

This was raised to the current limit of 20 in phase two of Singapore's reopening on June 19, for marriages taking place at places of worship, common areas of housing blocks and other external venues.

Wakes and funerals were allowed during the circuit breaker and phase one of the reopening, but with a limit of 10 people at any one time. This was also raised to 20 people in phase two.

Singapore is now six weeks into phase two, and most activities have resumed, subject to strict safe management measures, the MOH said.

It added that the number of community cases has remained low with the continued vigilance of businesses and the public over the past few weeks, but a second wave of infection is still possible if people let their guard down.

The MOH said yesterday that the task force will continue to monitor the situation closely with the aim of continuing to enable key social and economic activities to resume gradually and safely.

"Meanwhile, we must all adjust our expectations, lifestyles and norms, as we are not going back to the way things were before Covid-19," the ministry said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2020, with the headline 'Limits on people at weddings, wakes to be eased from Tuesday'. Print Edition | Subscribe