SINGAPORE - Singapore will continue to reopen in a calibrated manner with measures further relaxed from Monday (June 21), the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 said on Friday (June 18).
The announcements came amid a rise in locally transmitted cases over the past week brought about by a growing cluster at the 115 Bukit Merah View market and food centre.
More restrictions will be lifted in mid-July, barring a superspreader event or another big cluster emerging.
Here are the key announcements:
1. Dining in allowed but only in groups of two
Food and beverage (F&B) establishments will be allowed to resume dining-in services from next Monday but only for up to two diners per group.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it aims to increase this limit to five people in mid-July, barring a superspreader event or another big cluster emerging.
Groups of more than two people from different households will not be allowed to dine together even if they are split across multiple tables.
But bigger groups from the same household will be allowed to do so with two diners per table.
Recorded music will also not be allowed in F&B establishments to minimise the risk of transmission from patrons talking loudly.
Diners must continue to observe safe distancing and keep their masks on unless eating or drinking.
There is no change to the five-person cap on unique daily visitors to a household.
2. Wedding receptions remain banned, at least until mid-July
Wedding receptions, such as wedding dinners or lunches, carry a higher risk as attendees tend to socialise more and over a longer period of time, the MOH said.
They will continue to be prohibited at least until mid-July, when further changes will be announced.
When wedding receptions are allowed to resume, pre-event testing (PET) will be required for all attendees for events with up to 100 attendees.
For events with up to 50 attendees, PET will be required only for the main wedding party, such as the couple and their bridesmaids and groomsmen. The wedding party can have up to 20 attendees, including the couple.
3. Gyms and fitness studios can resume
Indoor activities that involve participants removing their masks, such as those at gyms and fitness studios, can resume from next Monday.
But groups must still be limited to two people and classes will be capped at 30 people, including the instructor.
Activities held outdoors can continue in groups of up to five people, but the 30-person cap on the class size remains.
4. Working from home remains default
Workers should continue to work from home as far as possible to reduce overall interaction within workplaces and public places such as public transport, the MOH said.
Employers should ensure that workers who need to go into the workplace do so with staggered start times. They should also implement flexible working hours.
No cross-deployment of workers to multiple work sites is allowed, and social gatherings as well as work-related events with food and beverages continue to be prohibited.
5. Support measures extended
Given the continued restrictions on various activities, the Government will extend enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme for affected sectors by three weeks.
This includes 50 per cent support for businesses that remain closed or have enhanced safety measures in place, such as F&B, gyms and fitness studios, and performing arts and arts education.
Other sectors that are significantly affected such as retail, cinemas, museums and family entertainment, will get 30 per cent support.
The support will be tapered down to 10 per cent for another two weeks, starting from July 12.
Other support measures for hawkers, such as fee subsidies and rental waivers, will continue at least until mid-July.
6. Testing regime for F&B and other staff to begin mid-July
Regular testing using "fast and easy" tests like antigen rapid test (ART) kits will be made mandatory for staff involved in higher risk activities, such as those working in F&B outlets with dining in, personal care services like massage parlours and beauty salons, as well as gyms with unmasked participants.
The staff will need to be tested every 14 days.
Small businesses that are unable to implement self-supervised swabbing will be able to send their staff to quick test centres. Two centres will be set up in Tekka and Yishun from next Monday, with more to be set up progressively.
7. Testing for visitors of residential care homes for the elderly to begin June 21
From next Monday, physical visits to residential care homes serving elderly residents will be allowed to resume after such visits were suspended from June 5 to June 20.
Visitors will need to take a fast and easy test at the care home and test negative before being allowed entry.
The MOH said some care homes may need more time to implement the testing procedure and may resume visits only at a later date.
8. SafeEntry Gateway check-out boxes to be deployed
The SafeEntry Gateway box is a device to allow people to check in easily by simply tapping their phones or TraceTogether tokens.
In the coming weeks, boxes that allow checking out will be deployed to enable more precise contact tracing efforts.
These devices will be deployed at venues with higher visitorship, such as malls, hospitals and polyclinics, as well as places where individuals with their masks off are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods, such as F&B establishments and gyms.
Eligible businesses will be notified in the coming weeks.
9. Mandatory testing for those who visited Covid-19 hot spots
TraceTogether and SafeEntry data will be used to strengthen ring-fencing efforts and prevent large clusters from forming.
Health alerts will be sent by SMS to those who have visited hot spots on the same days as infected persons and may have been exposed to infections.
They will be required to undergo mandatory testing at designated testing centres and stay isolated until they get their results.
They will also be given self-test kits to use at home to confirm they are not infected.
Further details on this testing requirement will be announced later.