Some Churches Appeal to Let Unvaccinated People Attend Religious Events as New Rule Kick in on 1 Feb

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Religious places of worship hold great significance to many. They are places where groups of people congregate together to carry out acts of devotion and veneration.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, some COVID-19 guidelines have been set in place during the “transition phase” for religious activities.

However, some churches are calling upon authorities to review a new rule that is about to be imposed.

The New Rule

On 14 Dec last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) released a statement, saying that vaccinated-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) will be expanded.

From 1 Feb 2022, all events must implement VDS (regardless of size) in order to proceed. Previously, the rule was that events may be given the green light if it consists of less than 50 people.

With the new rule set in place, only the following groups of people are allowed to attend events (E.g. congregational and worship services):

  • Fully vaccinated individuals
  • People who are medically ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Those who have recovered from COVID-19
  • Children aged 12 and below

The VDS will also be expanded to cover other areas, including institutes of higher learning (IHLs).

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Some Churches Appeal to Let Unvaccinated People Attend Religious Events

According to The Straits Times, at least two religious groups have appealed to authorities to reconsider the decision. Those organisations are hoping that exemptions could be made for those who are unvaccinated.

Last Sunday (16 Jan), the Church of St Bernadette posted an announcement on its Facebook page. It stated that Archbishop William Goh and the Archdiocesan COVID-19 task force have been calling upon authorities recently. They wanted all regular churchgoers to have the right to worship, regardless of their vaccination status.

They stated that “The archdiocese is seeking allowance that we continue to have masses for the unvaccinated in a separate setting solely for theme where they do not mix with the vaccinated.”

Currently, the decision is still pending. However, the authorities have granted the booking of Masses for the unvaccinated and the vaccinated to continue as normal for the month of February.

On Tuesday (18 Jan), a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) told ST that discussions between religious organisations and ministry were in process.

Nevertheless, with 1 Feb being a week away, and with the authorities doubling down on the COVID-19 restrictions even on CNY, it appears that the chances are slim, no?

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