Tighter measures currently in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 will be eased progressively from next Monday (June 14).
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said Singapore will gradually reopen and move to phase 3 (heightened alert) in two steps.
Here are the key announcements.
1. Cap on social gatherings to be raised from two people to five from June 14
The current two-person limit on group social gatherings will be raised to five from next Monday.
The same two-person cap on the number of unique daily visitors to a household will also be raised to five.
MOH said such gatherings should still be limited to small groups of regular contacts, to reduce the likelihood of transmission.
It advised the public to limit the number of social gatherings to no more than two a day.
2. Event size and capacity limits to be raised from June 14
Attractions, cruises, museums and public libraries will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their normal capacity from June 14, up from the current 25 per cent.
Event sizes will also be increased, and live performances and spectator sports events will be allowed to resume.
Events such as movie screenings at cinemas, events in the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry, worship services and marriage solemnisation outside the home will be able to resume with up to 250 attendees, if pre-event testing (PET) is conducted.
For marriages, the cap includes the wedding couple but not solemnisers or vendors.
Solemnisations held at home will be allowed for groups of up to five visitors, excluding members of the hosting household, or up to 10 attendees in total, whichever is higher.
PET will not be required for events with 50 or fewer attendees.
From Monday, personal care services which require masks to be removed, such as facials, will be allowed to resume.
But unmasking and singing or playing wind instruments, as well as wedding receptions with dining-in, can only resume from June 21.
3. Dining-in will resume from June 21
Dining-in at food and beverage (F&B) outlets will only be allowed from June 21.
These are considered high-risk settings, the MOH said.
It reminded F&B establishments to strictly observe 1m safe distancing between groups of diners.
Groups must also be limited to five people or fewer, and patrons must wear their masks at all times except while eating and drinking.
Wedding receptions will be allowed for up to 100 attendees – a number which includes the couple but not the solemnisers or vendors – with PET in place for all attendees.
PET will only be required for the wedding party of up to 20 attendees if the reception has 50 or fewer total attendees.
4. Gyms, sports and tuition classes to resume from June 21
From June 21, fitness studios and gyms can resume activities which involve removing one’s mask, with safe distancing of at least 2m between persons and 3m between groups of up to five.
Sports classes, both indoors and outdoors, will be limited to 30 people, including the instructor, and groups must consist no more than five people.
In-person tuition and enrichment classes for those aged 18 and below will also be allowed to resume from June 21. This includes classes involving singing or playing wind instruments.
5. Working from home remains the default; targeted support measures to continue
Employers must ensure that employees who can work from home continue to do so even as Singapore reopens gradually, MOH said.
This is so overall footfall and interactions in public are kept low, thereby reducing the risk of infections.
For those who need to return to the workplace, their start times should be staggered and they should be allowed flexible working hours.
Employers will still not be allowed to cross-deploy workers to multiple work sites.
As some activities remain closed until June 20, the Government will extend the current enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for affected sectors.
From June 21 to 30, the affected sectors will receive 10 per cent JSS support.
The Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi and private hire drivers will also be extended for three more months.
This will be set at $300 per vehicle each month for July and August, and $150 per vehicle for September.
6. Regular testing for staff in higher-risk activities and sale of self-test kits
Regular testing will be implemented for staff working in F&B establishments with dining-in, personal-care services requiring the removal of masks, and gyms or fitness studios where participants are unmasked.
The “fast and easy” testing regime will, for example, use antigen rapid tests (ART) for all staff regardless of vaccination status.
ART self-test kits will also be sold at retail pharmacies like Guardian, Unity and Watsons from June 16.
More details on these kits will be available from June 16, the MOH said.
Sales will initially be limited to 10 kits per person.
7. Vaccination bookings for those aged 12 to 39 to begin from June 11
Singaporeans aged 12 to 39 will be able to register online for vaccination and book and appointment from Friday.
MOH said the booking link may take up to two weeks to be sent to those who register, as more appointment slots for vaccination open up when more supplies arrive.
The rest of the resident population will be invited to register in the coming months.
Those who had earlier recovered from Covid-19 infection are recommended to receive just a single dose of the vaccine, the MOH said.
This is because those who have recovered in the last six months are likely to still have strong immunity.
Children under the age of 18 will require parental consent to book an appointment.
This article first appeared on straitstimes.com.