Dine in to resume, group size cap eased to 5 for those fully vaccinated: What you need to know about Singapore's Covid-resilient plan

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - From Aug 10, dining in will be allowed at all eateries - with certain conditions - as Singapore loosens its Covid-19 control measures.

Other changes to community measures such as caps on group sizes were also announced on Friday (Aug 6) by the Ministry of Health (MOH), with some taking place only from Aug 19.

With regard to these measures, MOH said that someone is considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks after they have received a full regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnatry or Moderna vaccines, or any other vaccines under the World Health Organisation's Emergency Use Listing.

These include the Astrazeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccines.

Individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 or have obtained a negative result on a pre-event test taken in the 24 hours before the expected end of a group activity are included in this category.

Here's what you need to know about the measures which take place from Aug 10:

1. Dining in

From Tuesday (Aug 10), groups of up to five people will be allowed to dine in at F&B establishments if all the diners are fully vaccinated.

Exceptions will be made for unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below, who may be included within the group of five as long as all the children are from the same household.

MOH said that F&B establishments that are not able to ensure groups are fully vaccinated may only operate take-away and delivery services.

Meanwhile, people may dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops regardless of their vaccination status.

"Hawker centres and coffee shops provide convenient and affordable food services within the community. As these are open-air and naturally ventilated spaces, we will extend a special concession for both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons to dine in the hawker centres and coffee shops," said MOH.

However, this will be subject to a smaller group size of up to two persons only, regardless of vaccination status.

Entertainment such as live performances, recorded music, and videos or TV screening will continue to be prohibited, said MOH, which emphasised that dining-in remains a high-risk activity.

The ministry reminded patrons to follow all safe management measures and to keep their masks on at all times except when eating or drinking.

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

2. Group sizes

From Tuesday, group sizes for social gatherings will be increased from two people to five people.

Households will also be allowed to receive five distinct visitors per day, up from the current two. The cap on visitors does not apply to grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents.

MOH said unvaccinated people are "strongly encouraged" to remain in groups of two or less, so as to to reduce the likelihood of transmission and severe infection.

"We should also continue to limit our social circle to a small group of regular contacts and limit the number of social gatherings to no more than two a day," said the ministry.

3. Congregational and worship services

From Aug 10, up to 500 worshippers may attend services if all are vaccinated. However, this limit is reduced to 50 worshippers if any are unvaccinated.

Exceptions will be made for unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below, who may not make up more than one-fifth of the total congregation size.

Singing while unmasked, as well as the playing of instruments that require expulsion of air for live performances may resume, subject to safe management measures.

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4. Funerals

From Aug 10, there can be up to 30 attendees at funerals at any point in time on all days. This is an increase from the current cap of 20 attendees.

5. Live performances

Up to 500 people can attend live performances from Tuesday if they are all vaccinated. However, if some attendees are unvaccinated and there is no pre-event testing, the cap is reduced to 50 persons.

Singing while unmasked and playing instruments that require the expulsion of air may resume for performers, subject to safe management measures.

6. Staycations

There can be up to five people per room in a hotel from Aug 10, except where people are all from the same household. This restriction is subject to the room's maximum capacity.

7. In-person tuition and enrichment classes

As many as 50 people will be allowed per class from Tuesday, in groups of up to five people. However, those attending such classes are still strongly encouraged to do so virtually.

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8. Massage establishments and hair salons

Services which require masks to be removed such as facials, saunas and make-up services will be allowed to resume from Tuesday if the customer is vaccinated.

9. Sports activities

From Aug 10, indoor mask-off high intensity activities and classes may resume, but capped at 30 people.

Exercise activities and classes at gyms and fitness studios can resume in groups of up to five, provided everyone in the group is fully vaccinated.

Indoor mask-on and all outdoor mask-on and mask-off activities and classes will have their cap raised to 50 people, up from 30.

Participants can gather in groups of up to five for mask-on indoor activities and all outdoor activities, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have taken a pre-event test.

10. Home-based businesses

From Aug 10, these businesses can now receive up to five unique visitors a day.

They were previously required to operate only on a contactless delivery or collection model.

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

The next set of measures will kick in from Aug 19, provided the Covid-19 situation remains under control.

1. Work from home

From Aug 19, up to 50 per cent of employees who can work from home may return to the workplace. Workplace social gatherings will also be allowed.

2. No more temperature screening requirement

Temperature screening will no longer be a requirement in public places from Aug 19.

MOH said that this is because of the high levels of vaccine coverage here, as well as the ability to pick up infections earlier through increased surveillance measures including greater use of self-test antigen rapid test kits, and rostered routine testing.

"Nevertheless, it is important to continue exercising good health-seeking behaviour when one is unwell by seeking care as soon as possible, using a mask and avoiding crowded places," said MOH.

3. Congregational and worship services

From Aug 19, up to 1,000 worshippers may attend if all are vaccinated. However, this limit is reduced to 50 worshippers if some are unvaccinated.

Exceptions will be made for unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below, who may not make up more than 20 per cent of the total congregation size.

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4. Live performances

From Aug 19, the group size limit for a fully vaccinated audience will be increased from 500 to 1,000 attendees. It will remain at 50 if some attendees are unvaccinated and there is no pre-event testing.

5. Museums and public libraries

From Aug 19, the operating capacity of such venues will be increased to 50 per cent, up from 25 per cent currently.

6. Shopping malls and showrooms

From Aug 19, the occupancy limit of such areas will be changed from one person per 16 sqm of gross floor area (GFA) to one person per 10 sqm of GFA.

7. Tour groups

From Aug 19, up to 50 people will be allowed for tours that involve transport, such as Duck Tours. Groups will remained capped at 20 people for non-conveyance tours.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.