Coronavirus Phase 3

Local attractions can apply to raise capacity up to 65%

Restrictions at weddings, funerals and live performances eased; limits up for malls

The capacity limit for malls and large standalone stores will be increased from 10 sq m per person to 8 sq m per person.
The capacity limit for malls and large standalone stores will be increased from 10 sq m per person to 8 sq m per person.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Local attractions can apply to increase their operating capacity from 50 per cent to up to 65 per cent when Singapore enters phase three from Dec 28, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

The capacity limit for malls and large standalone stores will be increased from 10 sq m per person to 8 sq m per person, though measures to prevent crowding in popular areas remain in place, the ministry said as it detailed the further easing of restrictions in various areas.

Speaking at a virtual press conference yesterday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore is also prepared to allow further relaxation of measures - be it for domestic activities or border control - further along phase three of its reopening.

"The approach we will take is to conduct pilots in higher-risk activities and settings... before we decide to take a further move," said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19.

Restrictions on religious organisations, weddings, funerals and live performances will also be relaxed.

All religious organisations will be allowed to increase their capacity for congregational and other worship services to a maximum of 250 people, as trials have shown that they have been able to do so safely.

Live performances will also be allowed to resume for worship services, along with rites and prayers held at places of worship.

These performances may involve a limited number of singers, as well as wind instruments like flutes and other instruments, with safe management measures in place.

Live instrumental music will be allowed for marriage solemnisations in indoor venues, as well as funerals, though wind instruments will not be allowed for these events.

Up to eight visitors can attend marriage solemnisations held in the home. Currently, a total of 10 people - including members of the hosting household, but excluding the solemniser and vendors - are allowed.

Indoor live performances will also be allowed to have audiences of up to 250, while ongoing pilots for outdoor live performances can expand to a capacity of 250, up from the current 100.

For these performances, people must remain segregated in zones of up to 50 people each.

Pilots will continue for busking and live performances at outdoor venues, karaoke and nightlife, to help the authorities assess how these activities can take place and be scaled up safely.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said Enterprise Singapore will be working with major retailers to see how their stores' layout can be improved to create more space for shoppers to be dispersed.

This may include tapping space outside of their premises.

"This is to make sure that we are able to better manage the crowd during the year-end festive season and also the period towards Chinese New Year," said Mr Chan, adding that more announcements will be made separately.

Mr Wong noted that Singapore has made good progress on the pre-conditions that it had spelt out for moving into phase three.

This includes adoption of the TraceTogether programme, which has about 65 per cent of the resident population participating in it as at Sunday. MOH said the country is on track to hit its target of about 70 per cent by the end of the year.

The implementation of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry - where the TraceTogether app or token is required for SafeEntry check-ins - will be carried out only early next year, said MOH.

This contact tracing requirement will kick in only after everyone who wants a token has had a chance to collect one at a community club or centre in his constituency.

Until then, visitors can perform SafeEntry check-in via the TraceTogether app, SingPass Mobile app, their identity cards and so on.

Singapore has also increased its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test capacity significantly - it can now run more than 50,000 tests a day, MOH said.

Antigen rapid tests for larger and higher-risk events have also been introduced.

Most businesses and members of the public have also been cooperating with safe management measures, MOH noted, adding that these efforts have helped keep community transmission low.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2020, with the headline 'Local attractions can apply to raise capacity up to 65%'. Subscribe