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Social gathering sizes decreased to 2, no dining-in allowed as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures from May 16

Work from home will be the default, as authorities try to clamp down on the recent surge in cases.

Nigel Chin

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


Published: 14 May 2021, 1:26 PM

The current social gathering group size of five will be decreased to two people from May 16, as Singapore further tightens its COVID-19 measures to clamp down on the recent spike in community cases. 

Mr Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force, said on Friday (May 14) that this will apply across the board for anything, including exercising and grocery shopping. 

“In fact, we strongly encourage everyone to stay home as much as possible, go out only for essential reasons. 

“We will do a review at the midway point, meaning two weeks after the measures have been implemented, and at that point we will look at the prevailing public health situation and see if there’s a need to adjust the measures further,” he added. 

The current cap of five visitors per household per day will also be reduced to two visitors per household per day. 

However, grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents on a daily basis would not count towards the cap of two distinct visitors or the number of social gatherings per day. 

Dining in at food and beverage establishments will be suspended too, including at hawker centres and food courts both indoors and outdoors. Wedding banquets will also have to cease. 

Work from home will become the default. 

These new measures, named by the Ministry of Health as “Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)”, will take effect from May 16 till June 13. 

“We are in a stage of heightened alert. I would urge everyone to be vigilant and minimise unnecessary social interactions,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. 

“We need to act decisively to disrupt the virus transmission. We will therefore further tighten safe management measures in the community.” 

Event sizes and event size caps will also be scaled down further to 50 attendees without pre-event testing and 100 attendees with pre-event testing, down from the 100 and 250 respective cap currently. 

This will apply to congregational and other worship services and MICE activities too. 

The capacity limits for shopping malls, showrooms and attractions, cruises, museums and public libraries will be scaled back too. 

At congregational and other worship services, religious workers and all other participants must wear their masks at all times. Live singing and playing of wind instruments are also suspended during this period. 

For attractions that have received prior approval from authorities, their operating capacity will be reduced to 25 per cent down from the current 50 per cent. Museums and public libraries will be allowed to operate at a reduced capacity of 20 per cent. 

For cinemas, the group size of two people applies. Food and beverages also cannot be sold or consumed in the cinema. 

Marriage solemnisations can continue with a cap of 50 without pre-event testing and 100 attendees with pre-event testing respectively. 

“We know that there is one group who will be particularly impacted too, which are wedding couples. Some of them may already have wedding plans for this coming Sunday, and it may be very hard to make last minute changes,” said Mr Wong, who added that the government is prepared to consider “grandfathering the arrangement” for couples who have already made wedding plans for Sunday. 

“They can proceed, but we will require them to put in place pre-event testing for all their guests. But this is a special arrangement only for this Sunday because this is a once in a lifetime event for the wedding couples.”


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