Five things to know as Singapore starts easing COVID-19 measures from Aug 10

Singapore will ease its COVID-19 restrictions in two steps, as those fully vaccinated will be allowed to gather in groups of up to five.

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 6 August 2021, 7:56 PM

Singapore will begin to ease its COVID-19 restrictions from Aug 10, authorities announced on Friday (Aug 6).

It will do so in two steps, with the next round of easing coming on Aug 19 should the situation remain stable. The announcement comes after a review of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures.

Authorities are calling this round of easing of measures as the preparatory stage, where they will make important adjustments to healthcare protocols, rules on social activities and travel, to prepare themselves for a transition to a COVID-resilient nation.

The preparatory stage is expected to last for one month, until early September.

“And by then, if we can continue to keep the number of severe cases, illnesses under control, and our healthcare capacity is not overly stretched, we will be able to move to the next stage, called Transition Stage A,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

“This is when we will further open up our economy, social activities and travel. Then our lives will be more normal, livelihoods will be better protected. But when we do that, we must expect infection numbers to rise.”

Here are five things youth should know about the latest measures:

1. Group sizes for social gatherings increased from two to five

The social gathering sizes will be increased to five people from Aug 10. Similarly, households will be able to receive up to five distinct visitors a day.

However, that is only applicable to those fully vaccinated, or recovered individuals.

Those who remain unvaccinated will have to stick to the social gathering sizes of two people, unless they have a valid pre-event test result.

2. Dining in at F&B outlets will be allowed

Dining-in will be allowed once again. However, F&B outlets are allowed to resume dine-in services only if they have an operation in place to ensure that customers are fully vaccinated.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops, but only in group sizes of up to two.

A special concession has been extended for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to dine in at these places because hawker centres and coffee shops are open-air and naturally ventilated spaces.

Entertainment, such as live performances, recorded music and TV screenings, will continue to be prohibited.

3. Events sizes, capacity limits to be increased

Event sizes and capacity limits for large events will be increased.

If all attendees are fully vaccinated, the event sizes for congregational and worship services, cinemas, live performances and spectator sports events will be increased to 500 people from Aug 10. Else, only up to 50 attendees will be allowed without pre-event testing.

Vaccinated performers can unmask, sing or play wind instruments at live performances too.

For marriage solemnisations in external venues, up to 500 people including the wedding couple, but excluding solemnisers and vendors, will be allowed if all attendees are fully vaccinated. Else, only up to 50 attendees will be allowed without pre-event.

These limits will be increased to up to 1,000 fully vaccinated attendees from Aug 19, should the situation remain under control.

Wedding receptions with up to 250 people in groups of five attendees per table will be allowed if all attendees are fully vaccinated.

From Aug 19, operating capacity for attractions and cruises will be increased to 50 per cent. The same applies to museums and public libraries.

4. No more temperature screening in public premises from Aug 19

From Aug 19, temperature screening in public places will not be needed.

This is because the vaccine coverage among Singapore’s population is expected to increase to at least 70 per cent by then, and transmission among vaccinated individuals and disease severity in vaccinated but infected persons are likely to be substantially lower.

5. More people will be allowed to return to workplace from Aug 19

Work-from-home requirements will be eased from Aug 19, with up to 50 per cent of employees allowed to return to the workplace.

However, other measures, such as wearing masks, still apply.

From Oct 1, workers in selected sectors will need to be fully vaccinated, or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. For those medically ineligible for vaccines, the cost for COVID-19 tests will be subsidised by the Government.

The sectors affected include the healthcare sector, eldercare sector, settings with children 12 years and below, F&B establishments, gyms and fitness studios, and personal care services.

Civil Servants will also be subjected to this regime.

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