8 Easing of Measures Announced in the Latest Press Conference By the COVID-19 Task Force

No, before you go, “Eh, we’re finally in Phase 3 le,” please hold your horses. It’s not yet Phase 3, but the Multi-Ministry Taskforce did mention that they’re now working on a road map for Phase 3, which means KTV might finally be able to open soon le.

However, today, the task force announces that more measures would be eased, and for the first time, it might cause some people to cry as our boss can finally order us to the office le.

Here are the 8 easings of measures you ought to know.

More Employees Can Return to Workplace

At this moment, the default working mode is to work from home. Come 28 September 2020 (Monday), that will still be the default mode, but employers can now call employees back to the workplace.

However, the employer must ensure that such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time.

For example, for a full-time worker with a 6-day work week, he or she may be allowed to be in the office for up to three days in a week. Alternatively, an employer with 10 full-time employees who are currently working from home may split the 10 employees into two teams, and ask each team to return to the workplace every alternate week while the other team continues to work from home.

Returning to the workplace can either be initiated by the employee and agreed upon with the employer, or directed by the employer.

But to reduce the peak hour public transport crowds, there must be a compromise:

Working Hours Should Be Staggered

Office hours are going to be a thing of the past, as employers should allow employees to work partly at home and partly at the workplace such that they travel outside of peak periods, e.g. blocks of 10am-4pm or 1-5pm in-office hours, or return to the workplace only for meetings and work-from-home the rest of the time.

Also, half of all employees should start work at or after 10am. In addition, split team or shift arrangements must continue to be implemented, with each team restricted to one worksite where possible. Employers must also ensure clear separation of employees on different teams or shifts.

Events in Workplace May Resume

Do you know that if your office has a culture of celebrating a person’s birthday, they can’t do it now?

Not that you care since everyone’s now working at home.

So, with us being able to see our office guys and ladies again, you might think that workplace birthday celebrations can resume.


Instead, work-related events within the workplace premises that are business-oriented (such as conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings) will be allowed to resume, for up to 50 persons (or lower depending on venue capacity based on safe management principles) with strict adherence to SMM requirements e.g. at least 1 metre safe distancing between each employee.

Not exactly a good news because Zoom meetings might be part of history le.

Limits for Worship Services to Increase

Since 7 August 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) had worked with 12 religious organisations (ROs), with more coming on board progressively, to pilot an increase in limit for congregational and other worship services from 50 persons to 100 persons (split in two zones of 50 persons for congregational services).

The pilot appears to go well, as from 3 October 2020, all ROs will be allowed to conduct congregational and other worship services for up to 100 persons, subject to safe distancing and safe management measures in place.

MCCY is also considering a pilot to increase worship limits up to 250 persons (five zones of 50 persons for congregational services) and will release further details subsequently.

Limits for Wedding Receptions to Increase

For couples who’ve been wanting to have that Instagram-worthy moment to remember, this would be perfect for you if you intend to hold your wedding reception at 10 October 2020.

From 3 October 2020, MOH will be expanding the current pilot for wedding receptions to allow up to 100 unique attendees (including the wedding couple, excluding vendors and service providers) in total, subject to premise capacity.

Participants in a wedding can be split into multiple zones of up to 50 persons each, or split by staggered timings with up to 50 persons in each slot. There should be at least 30 minutes between slots for cleaning and disinfection of the event space.

The cap for marriage solemnisations will also be increased to 100 persons, split across multiple zones of up to 50 persons each. Venue operators may impose a lower cap if they are unable to comply with the zoning or staggered timing requirements.

Wedding Receptions Can Take Place in HDB Void Decks

Yes, we might finally see some lively activities in our HDB void decks le.

Starting in November 2020, MOH will also be launching a pilot which will allow wedding receptions organised by a registered wedding organiser to take place at Housing Development Board (HDB) common areas, such as void decks and Multi-Purpose Halls managed by Town Councils.

Further details, including the commencement date for this initiative, will be released at a later stage. In the meantime, couples may also wish to consider holding their events at function rooms and multi-purpose halls at community centres/ clubs, which have been made available for wedding celebrations at affordable rates.

Limits for Number of Patrons in Cinema to Increase

Lest you’re not aware, if you go to the cinema now, you’d feel like you’ve purchased a Gold Class ticket as all the seats around you would be empty.

This will still be true come 1 October 2020, but it’d be a tad more crowded.

From 1 Oct 2020, large cinema halls (with more than 300 seats) will be allowed to have up to three zones of up to 50 patrons each. Other cinema halls would also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50% of their original operating capacity, or maintain the current limit of up to 50 patrons per hall, subject to the relevant safe management measures.

With more people, you’d at least know when to laugh while watching a comedy movie lah.

New Mask-Wearing Rules for Kids

It would be great if everyone, including a newborn, wears a mask, but we’ve to be logical—people of a certain age might not be able to wear one.

Reader Bao: Sovereign-age?

No; I’m referring to those below two years old. Currently, the law is that anyone two years and above must wear a mask in public.

MOH is adjusting the legal cut-off age for children to wear masks to six years old and above, up from the current two years old and above.

The reason?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have recently issued their guidance that young children below the age of six years may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks. Therefore consistent adult supervision is recommended to ensure appropriate and safe use of masks by these young children.

So no point forcing those people below six years old to wear a mask when they’d be putting it over their eyes to become Batman.

And just so you know, the reason that we can resume these activities (not that we like them lah) is that the number of community cases has remained low. For example, today, there is only one community case, while yesterday, there isn’t any.

But with more employees returning to the workplace and more persons engaging in business travel, the risk of community transmission increases, so MOH strongly urges everyone to do their part by observing safe distancing and practising good personal hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission.

Those who are unwell, including those showing early/mild symptoms, should be socially responsible and seek medical attention immediately and stay at home to prevent the spread of illness to others.

And also, download the TraceTogether app lah. If you still feel that your privacy is being exposed, you can watch this video (and please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos!):