SINGAPORE – Just over a month since the first anniversary of the circuit breaker, Singapore will once again live with stricter measures due to an increase in the spread of COVID-19.
The measures – in effect from Sunday (16 May) to 13 June include:
No dining-in at all food and beverage establishments, including hawker centres and food courts. Takeaway and delivery are allowed.
Social gathering size limited to two and work-from-home should be the default for all workplaces. Social gatherings at the workplace will not be allowed.
Entry to malls, places of worship and events will be tightened, including a cap of 20 for all days of wakes and funerals, and a ban on wedding receptions.
Social group sizes
In particular, the rule on social group sizes has led to many questions about specific circumstances.
Here are some answers:
FOR FAMILIES LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD
Question: We are asked to keep our social interactions to two per day and to allow a maximum of two unique visitors into our home daily. What if I have an existing arrangement where my parents look after my two kids daily?
Answer: In order to allow families’ current childcare arrangements to continue, grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents on a daily basis would not be counted towards the cap of two distinct visitors per household, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Question: It has been announced that only two people can gather or be together at any one time. What if I need to send both my children to school on the way to work?
Answer: On Friday, the MOH clarified that it is "prepared to be flexible in our implementation of the general rule" for occasions where there are genuine needs, such as when parents need to escort more than one young child.
"We recognise that there may be occasions where members of the same household may need to move about in groups larger than two persons, especially those with young children or elderly parents in order to look after their higher care needs," the ministry said. "These may include taking public transport, going for medical appointments, attending classes or going to work in the same vehicle."
Question: Does this mean I can bring my children everywhere, including to the mall?
Answer: The ministry said it strongly urges households "to observe the prevailing group size limits in public settings and venues as far as possible".
Question: I've booked a staycation for members of my family living in the same household. Can I still go ahead with it?
Answer: In an advisory on Friday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that while more than two individuals will not be allowed to gather in a room, or any pair of adjoining guest rooms where there are connecting doors that may be opened by guests, on any single day, person who are from the same household are exempt.
In short, yes, you may go ahead with your staycation. However, do note that there will still be no dine-in at any of the hotel's restaurants or cafes – rooms service, takeaways and deliveries are allowed.
FOR THOSE ATTENDING FITNESS CLASSES/ACTIVITIES
Questions: Can I go jogging with my neighbour?
Answer: Yes, if it is only you and one other person. Sports Singapore (Sports SG), in its latest guidance, said, "Physical activity of a social nature should be kept to two participants." Furthermore, masks should be worn as a default. However, if the activity is high intensity in nature, masks may be removed.
Question: Can my children still attend group swimming classes?
Answer: As the activity is high intensity in nature – and when swimming, masks cannot be worn – they may but the limit is two per group, including the instructor. There should also not be multiple groups of two. So, this would mean that only one child can attend and it would be a private class.
Question: Can I take off my mask while attending a group exercise class, such as yoga, in a studio?
Answer: Only low intensity activities are allowed indoors, subject to safe distancing measures, and masks must be worn throughout. Multiple groups of two are allowed up to a maximum of 30 persons, or the capacity limit of the venue, whichever is lower. These groups of two are not allowed to intermingle before, during and after class.
Questions: Can I take off my mask while attending a group exercise class outdoors?
Answer: You may remove your mask only if the activity is high intensity in nature and there is only one other person your group – this includes your instructor, said Sports SG. As such, this would be a personal training session and not a group class.
Group classes are allowed outdoors for low-intensity activities where masks are kept on throughout. For these classes, multiple groups of two are allowed up to a maximum of 30 persons, or the capacity limit of the venue, whichever is lower. The instructor is not included in the group quota. These groups of two are not allowed to intermingle before, during and after class, and must keep 3m apart.
Here are all the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures:
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