You know something is wrong when you see Lawrence Wong twice in less than a week.
Just four days ago, the man whom we didn’t see much in 2021 held a press conference with his friends to update us about the new measures from 1 May 2021 to 14 May 2021.
Well, that’s now old news because today, another new set of measures are announced, and let’s just say that we no longer look forward to seeing Mr Wong on TV nowadays.
Here’s what you don’t want to know about the new COVID-19 measures but still need to know.
Now, for a start, these new restrictions will take effect from 8 May 2021 to 31 May 2021, but we’re encouraged to practise them with immediate effect since last I know, the coronavirus doesn’t have a good sense of time.
Reduction of Group Size
The current permissible group size of up to 8 persons will be reduced to up to 5 persons. As earlier announced on 30 April 2021, individuals are advised to keep to 2 or less social gatherings per day, whether visiting another household or meeting with friends/ family members in a public place. The cap of 8 distinct visitors per household per day will also be reduced to 5 distinct visitors per household per day.
So if you’ve booked your Mother Day’s dinner this weekend, it’s time to make some changes.
Fewer People in the Office
Now, at least there’s some good news (or so I thought?).
While there’s no mention about the default working mode, the limit in the office will be reduced from 75% to 50%. Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours. Social gatherings at the workplace should be avoided. However, if they cannot be avoided (e.g. during meal breaks), the gatherings are subject to the revised group size of 5 persons.
Closure of Some Places
Indoor gymnasiums and indoor fitness/ health studios will need to be closed. These are small enclosed spaces where people are frequently unmasked while exercising, and in close proximity with many other unmasked people.
Outdoor organised exercise programmes/classes may still continue, subject to a class size of 30 attendees in total, with safe distancing measures. This includes group sizes of up to 5 persons and a 3 metre distance between each group.
Changes in Activities or Events
For congregational and other worship service, pre-event testing will be required if there are more than 100 attendees at any one time, capped at 250 attendees. Congregational singing will be suspended in places of worship to manage any risks of spread.
Marriage solemnisations may proceed with up to 250 attendees in total (including the wedding couple, excluding the Licensed Solemniser and vendors) for the entire event, in zones of up to 50 attendees. Pre-event testing will be required for the wedding couple for solemnisations involving more than 50 attendees.
Similarly, wedding receptions may proceed with up to 250 attendees in total (including the wedding couple, excluding vendors) for the entire event, in zones or timeslots of up to 50 attendees each. Due to the higher risk at receptions where people are unmasked while enjoying their meals and come into close and prolonged contact mingling with one another, pre-event testing for all attendees (including the wedding couple) will be required for wedding receptions involving more than 50 attendees.
As for funerals, attendees at the day of the burial/ cremation will be limited to no more than 30 persons, down from 50 persons currently. The cap for other days of the wake remains at 30 attendees at any one time.
All mass participation sports events will be suspended and no spectators will be allowed.
The maximum number of attendees allowed at live performances and pilot business-to-business events will be reduced from 750 to 250. Pre-event testing will be required for all attendees of these events if there are more than 100 attendees. Similarly, cinema attendances will be reduced to 100 attendees, with the potential to increase to 250 attendees with the additional requirement of pre-event testing.
Museums and public libraries operating capacity will be reduced from 65% to 50%.
As announced last Friday, all attractions that have received MTI’s prior approval will be permitted to operate at 50% operating capacity, a reduction from 65%. In addition, the maximum number of attendees allowed at the indoor and outdoor shows at these attractions will be reduced to 100, and the maximum tour size offered by tour operators and tourist guides will be reduced from 50 attendees to 20 attendees.
Earlier Implementation of TraceTogether-only Safe Entry (TT-only SE)
It was previously announced that TT-only SE was slated to be implemented from 1 June 2021 across all venues that experience a higher throughput of visitors and/or where persons are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods.
The implementation of TT-only SE will now be brought forward to 17 May 2021. From 17 May 2021, scanning of SE-QR codes with the phone camera and Singpass App will be discontinued. To ease the transition, ID check-ins will be retained until 31 May 2021.
You can watch this video to know more about TraceTogether:
Circuit Breaker Might be Back
And now, let’s address the elephant in the room: is there a chance of Circuit Breaker coming back?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “yes”.
According to current Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, he said that the authorities “have not ruled out the possibility of a Circuit Breaker. Certainly we hope that we won’t get there and we must do what we can with this set of measures we’ve just announced.
“With the cooperation and support of all Singaporeans, I think we probably will be able to avoid having to get to a Circuit Breaker situation but we cannot rule that out.”
By the way, I was in NTUC FairPrice earlier and no worries: there are still a lot of toilet rolls on the shelves.
Featured Image: YouTube