SINGAPORE - More people will be able to attend weddings, and congregational and other worship services from Oct 3, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced on Wednesday (Sept 23).
Up to 100 unique attendees, including the wedding couple but excluding vendors and service providers, will be allowed to attend wedding receptions in venues that are permitted to serve food and drinks, Mr Gan said at a virtual press conference. This is up from the current limit of 50.
Similarly, all religious organisations will be allowed to conduct congregational and other worship services for up to 100 people, though safe distancing and safe management measures have to be in place.
Currently, only selected religious organisations have been able to have up to 100 people for congregational and other worship services under a pilot scheme.
Mr Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, said that coronavirus cases have remained low, thus allowing for the resumption of more activities.
He noted that while Singapore has taken a cautious approach to events such as weddings, there is some scope now for a relaxation of the rules.
"Some couples have put off their wedding plans in the hope that they can ride out the pandemic and proceed with their original plans for a large wedding reception... but the end of the pandemic is still some way off, (and) indefinitely postponing a wedding may not be practical or desirable," added Mr Gan.
The Government has also relaxed limits on religious activities and worship as it recognises that such activities are "important facets" of many Singaporeans' daily lives, he said.
Participants in a wedding can be split into multiple zones of up to 50 people each, or split by staggered timings, with up to 50 people in each slot, the Health Ministry (MOH) said in a press statement.
At least 30 minutes should be allocated between the slots for cleaning and disinfection of the event space, the MOH said.
The cap for marriage solemnisations will also be increased to 100 people, split across multiple zones of up to 50 people each, though the cap for solemnisations held in homes and the Registries of Civil and Muslim Marriages Building remains unchanged at a maximum of 10 people, excluding the solemniser.
Venue operators may impose a lower cap if they are unable to comply with the zoning or staggered timing requirements, and video link solemnisations will continue to be offered as an option for couples, MOH said.
Starting from November, a new pilot that will allow wedding receptions arranged by a registered wedding organiser to take place at Housing Development Board common areas, such as void decks and multi-purpose halls managed by town councils, will also be launched, said Mr Gan.
Further details, including the start date for this initiative, will be released at a later stage, said the MOH.
"In the meantime, couples may also wish to consider holding their events at function rooms and multi-purpose halls at community centres/clubs, which have been made available for wedding celebrations at affordable rates," the MOH said.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth is also considering a pilot to increase worship limits for up to 250 persons - split into five zones of 50 persons for congregational service- and will release further details, the MOH added.