Wedding banquets banned from May 17 to June 13; those on May 16 can continue with new conditions

Couples with plans to get married on May 16 are the sole exception to the ban on dining in at F&B establishments. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Ms Eunice Sim, 29, and her fiance Mr Wilson Foo, 31, had planned to get married in December last year.

But they pushed it back in the hopes that safe management measures would be more relaxed in phase three of Singapore's reopening.

Now, after months of planning and replanning, they are just glad they can get the wedding dinner over and done with on Sunday (May 16).

Couples with plans to get married on May 16 are the sole exception to a new measure banning dining in at food and beverage (F&B) establishments, including hawker centres and food courts, from May 16 to June 13.

During a press conference on Friday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the rule will also apply to wedding banquets, as this is a dining activity.

Couples will still be able to hold their solemnisation ceremonies during this period with up to 100 attendees if they implement pre-event testing (PET), or 50 attendees if they do not. This includes the couple but not the solemniser or vendors.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said exceptions will be made only for couples who have wedding plans for May 16, as it may be very hard for them to make last-minute changes.

Under the current measures, solemnisations and banquets are both allowed, with a cap of 250 attendees if PET is done, or 50 attendees without PET.

"If there are such couples who are impacted, we are prepared to consider grandfathering the arrangements just for the wedding couples who have already made plans for Sunday," he said.

"They can proceed, but we will require them to put in place pre-event testing for all their guests.

"This is a special arrangement only for this Sunday, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the wedding couples. The changes are coming in very soon and it may be hard for them to change (their plans)."

Having to cancel or postpone their wedding again would have been a nightmare, said Ms Sim, a business manager at the cake shop chain Baker's Brew.

"When we heard the news, we said to each other that we should just get it over and done with, because you never know when the next new measure will kick in," said Mr Foo, a wedding photographer at Multifolds Photography.

The many changes in safe management measures in recent weeks have made planning the event stressful, said Ms Sim.

When the Government announced on May 4 that gatherings had to be cut from groups of eight to groups of five, the pair had to reorganise the seating arrangements for their 100 guests.

They also had to inform their guests that they would have to undergo PET, as the attendance limit for events to go on without PET was cut on the same day from 100 to 50.

Things are further complicated by the fact that their wedding is being held over two days, on Saturday and Sunday, so each set of guests would have to comply with different rules and standards.

As both Mr Foo and Ms Sim's jobs are linked to the wedding industry, they have had to address the many questions not only from their guests, but also clients who had hired them.

Said Ms Sim: "During the circuit breaker last year, it was the same thing. People would come to us and ask, can I still go ahead with my celebrations? What if I need to cancel?

"We had faced all these typical questions, so we were able to keep ourselves composed and think about the steps to take for our own wedding."

Mr Foo said some aspects of the Government's communication of the new measures have been frustrating, which has led to uncertainty around whether their guests who have been fully vaccinated would still have to undergo PET, for example.

"If the Government wants to implement a new measure, I feel they should also have a discussion with the main parties involved like hotels and other vendors," he said.

"That way, we would have a better answer to give our clients, because when people ask us now, we are just as clueless about what is going to happen."

Meanwhile, other events like worship services and funerals can continue during the period from May 16 to June 13, but with lower caps on attendees.

Worship services can continue during the period from May 16 to June 13, but with lower caps on attendees. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Worship services will have reduced capacity of 100 attendees at any one time with PET implemented, or up to 50 attendees at any one time without PET.

This is down from the current cap of 250 with PET and 100 without PET.

To further mitigate the risk of spread through aerosol transmissions, religious workers and all other participants must wear their masks at all times during the service.

Wind instruments and live singing during services are banned.

Funerals, including burials and cremations, will have the attendance cap reduced from the current limit of 30 people at any point in time on all days to 20.

READ NEXT: What are the new Covid-19 rules in S'pore from May 16?

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