Eating out in groups of up to eight may soon be possible if community transmission rates for COVID-19 remains low in Singapore.
There is a chance that Phase 3 may come before the end of the year, said COVID-19 task force co-chair Lawrence Wong at a press conference on Oct 20.
Some of the changes in Phase 3 include an increase in the number of people at gatherings outside to eight, and raising the maximum capacity at weddings and religious services.
“The key to remember is that any relaxation has to come with additional controls and safeguards,” said Mr Wong, who went on to outline the three factors that we need to fulfil before transitioning to Phase 3.
These include getting more people using the TraceTogether app or tokens for SafeEntry, ramping up testing with the use of antigen rapid tests (ARTs), and ensuring people continue to adhere to key safe distancing and safe management measures.
ARTs will allow for widespread testing at large scale events, with fairly accurate results ready in 30 minutes, and will be piloted in the next three months.
Beyond raising the number of people who can gather outside or visit a home to eight, Phase 3 will also see weddings and religious services hosting over 100 people (the current limit) in separate zones of 50, depending on venue size.
There may also be a greater easing of travel restrictions with other countries during this phase. Already, Singapore has reached an in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral air travel bubble with Hong Kong, although details are still yet to be announced.
Nightlife establishments, however, are likely to remain closed at the start of Phase 3.
Task force co-chair Gan Kim Yong emphasised that these changes will not all be implemented at once, and that people should not be expecting a “big-bang”.
He said: “Some of these measures may be implemented progressively. We may adjust the group size first or we may adjust the larger-scale activities.
“It depends on the situation and depends also on the various pilots that we are carrying out at the moment.”
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