It's now okay to sit next to someone on the MRT and other updates to Covid-19 regulations

It's now okay to sit next to someone on the MRT and other updates to Covid-19 regulations
PHOTO: Facebook/Khaw Boon Wan

If you've been on a bus or MRT in the past couple of days, you may have noticed something strange — the safe distancing stickers that have become familiar fixtures to most of us are no more.

The stickers were removed from June 1 as "physical distancing will be difficult once the crowds return", Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan mentioned in a Facebook post.

The move was in line with amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, which stated that individuals are required to keep a safe distance of one metre from each other, except when in a motor vehicle or on public transport.

This means that commuters will not be penalised or fined if they are not able to stay a metre apart from one another.

Nevertheless, companies should do their best to implement staggered working hours and maintain telecommuting practices to reduce peak-hour crowding, Khaw had said in Parliament on May 4.

Individuals should also minimise discretionary travel and try to travel during off-peak hours, he remarked.

Other amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 which came into effect on June 2 include:

Regulations now in force indefinitely

The regulations, which have been in force since April 7, originally specified an end date of June 1.

However, this was removed in an update on Monday night (June 1).

Masks to be worn when not at home

With easing regulations on home visits and employees in reopening enterprises heading back to work, masks should still be worn whenever individuals are not in their "ordinary place of residence".


Exceptions include when individuals are engaging in strenuous physical exercise and travelling in a car or van alone. They may also remove their face mask if all other passengers in the vehicle live with them.

Those who need to consume food, drink or medication, may remove their masks to do so.

Wearing face shields in place of masks

Face shields are a better option than masks for young children who may not be able to communicate in situations where they have trouble breathing, doctors say.

Face masks may also be rendered ineffective when older children frequently touch their faces to adjust their masks.

With the latest updates, children aged 12 and below are now allowed to wear face shields in place of masks.

Those giving speeches, teaching or lecturing may also use face shields if they are at least one metre away from all others in the room.

If wearing a mask leads to severe medical conditions, individuals can choose to wear a face shield instead.

Childcare for workers at permitted enterprises

Permitted enterprises include government bodies, businesses which have been allowed to reopen, and those who have obtained conditional permits from the Enterprise Minister.

In households where both parents work in healthcare or permitted enterprises, children can be taken to their grandparents' homes for care.


Individuals whose spouses are working in healthcare or permitted enterprises may also bring their children to their grandparents' homes for care if the child is below three.

Alternatively, grandparents are allowed to visit the family's residence to care for the child in the circumstances outlined above. 

Working from home to continue

Those of us who are still working from home aren't likely to get a change of environment any time soon. 

The updated regulations state that any individual who is not working in a permitted enterprise is not allowed to work in any premises other than their place of residence.

They are allowed to work only "through means that do not require meeting any other individual in person".

Individuals can only meet for work

While social gatherings have already been banned since the start of the circuit breaker period, the regulations now state that individuals living apart should not meet anywhere outside of their residences for a purpose that is not for work.

Exceptions to the rule include meetings that are related to receiving education or care from the government, public bodies, schools and early childhood development centres.

Those convicted of flouting the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 can face a fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

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