Masks optional outdoors, social gathering sizes up to 10: Five things youth should know about new COVID-19 measures from Mar 29
Singapore has made its biggest move thus far to return to normalcy as we learn to live with COVID-19.
Wearing of masks in outdoor settings will be optional, while social gathering sizes will be increased to 10.
These new COVID-19 measures will take effect from Tuesday (Mar 29), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in a live broadcast today (Mar 24).
The new measures were introduced in light of the improving COVID-19 situation. The weekly infection growth rate has dipped below 1.00 since the start of the month, meaning case numbers have decreased consistently for the past three weeks.
Here are the five key things you should know about the latest COVID-19 measures.
1. Social gathering sizes to increase two-fold to 10 people
The group size restriction for social gatherings has increased from five to 10 persons. Likewise, the number of unique visitors per household will also increase from five to 10 persons at any one time.
A greater number (75 per cent) of people who are able to work from home will also be allowed to return to the office from Tuesday.
2. Dine-in limit increased to 10 persons, more entertainment and social activities to resume
Groups of up to 10 fully vaccinated persons will be able to dine in at F&B places.
Additionally, groups of up to five may also dine in without the need to be checked at the entrance. Instead, F&B businesses may choose to conduct random spot-checks for diners’ vaccination status.
Moreover, live performances such as busking can resume at all indoor and outdoor venues. F&B establishments can also play live music.
Less essential large-scale social gatherings such as gala dinners and corporate dinner events will also be allowed to resume.
The ban on alcohol in F&B establishments after 10.30pm will also be lifted. However, agencies are still considering the safe resumption of nightlife businesses like bars and clubs.
An update on nightlife resumption can be expected in the coming weeks, said Mr Gan Kim Yong, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce.
3. Masks will be optional outdoors
Mask-wearing will no longer be a requirement outdoors. However, it is still encouraged in crowded outdoor areas to minimise COVID-19 transmission.
In making the announcement, PM Lee also called on Singaporeans to exercise social responsibility when needed.
Safe distancing measures will remain, with groups to maintain a distance of 1m between one another where masks are not worn.
Group vocalisation activities such as congregational singing and cheering by audiences will also be allowed, as long as masks are worn.
4. Increased capacity for large events
The capacity limits for larger events and settings with more than 1,000 people will be raised from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
These include events and settings where the 1m safe distancing rule may be difficult to enforce, such as attractions, cruises, business and work-related events, as well as large performing arts venues and sports stadiums.
5. Shifting from vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) to vaccinated travel framework
Singapore will open borders to fully vaccinated travellers from April and discontinue existing VTLs, allowing people to travel abroad “almost like before COVID-19”, said Mr Lee.
Instead, the simplified vaccinated travel framework will classify countries and regions into two categories, general travel and restricted.
Fully vaccinated visitors in the general travel category will be able to enter Singapore quarantine-free from Apr 1. They will also be able to enter Singapore on any flight or ferry, as Singapore will also no longer require designated VTL flights or ferries.
Pre-departure tests are still required for air and sea travel.
Mr Lee also said Singapore is finalising discussions with Malaysia on further resumption of land travel.
Maintaining a measured approach to reopening
Mr Lee said that Singapore has reached a “major milestone” in its COVID-19 journey, with the population having stronger immunity after many had been exposed to the virus.
Despite this, the Government remains cautious not to increase the stress placed on the healthcare system and its workers when judging how much to ease restrictions.
“We remain mindful because COVID-19 may bring further surprises,” he said.
Therefore, Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to take the new measures in the “right spirit” and not let their guard down completely.
He said that Singapore must be mentally prepared for detours in its COVID-19 journey, as we might have to tighten restrictions again if more dangerous variants emerge.
“Let us all continue to exercise personal and social responsibility,” he added.