People should not visit more than two households a day, the authorities said.
Households can only receive up to a maximum of eight visitors a day from Jan 26 in light of the rise in community COVID-19 cases and the possible risk of transmission during Chinese New Year.
People should also visit no more than two households a day as much as possible, said Mr Lawrence Wong, the minister-in-charge of the multi-ministry COVID-19 task force, on Friday (Jan 21).
Recalling the spike in COVID-19 cases last year and the clusters linked to Chinese New Year gatherings, Mr Wong said: “We don’t want a repeat of that happening. And that’s why we are making a pre-emptive move now to tighten some of our measures.”
Currently, up to eight visitors are allowed in each household at any point of time, with no restrictions on the number of homes they can visit.
The maximum group size for social gatherings outside the house will remain at eight for now, added the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release.
MOH added that everyone should keep their social circle small instead of mixing with multiple social groups.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and impose further measures as necessary,” said MOH.
Those dining out must avoid talking loudly during meals as well, so during the Chinese New Year period, the traditional lohei should be conducted without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases, said Mr Wong, co-chair of the task force.
Face masks should be worn during the tossing of yusheng, in line with the current rules on wearing a mask when diners are not eating or drinking.
As with current rules, singing or live performances will not be allowed at F&B establishments or work-related events where food is served.
Multiple table bookings will also not be allowed except for people from the same household during reunion dinners.
There should also not be any intermingling across tables, said MOH.
Enforcement checks at F&B establishments, malls and other crowded public spaces during the Chinese New Year period will be stepped up. Strict enforcement actions will be taken against individuals and business operators who do not comply with safe management measures, said Mr Wong.
“The virus is raging everywhere in the world, and including in places all around Asia, which have up to now been successful in controlling the infection. Many of these places are now seeing new cases emerging, including in Singapore,” he said.
“So let us be mentally prepared that Chinese New Year this year will not be the same as before. It will be quieter, it will be more subdued. And we have to be more disciplined in how we go about our daily activities and interactions.”
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