Vogue Singapore apologises for social distancing 'lapse'

PHOTO: The New Paper reader

Images showing the editorial team of Vogue Singapore gathering closely together in their office premises and posing for group pictures emerged online last Wednesday.

They were posted by Facebook user Kien Lee, who wrote: "Vogue Singapore did not follow social distancing guidelines when they were so happy receiving gifts of MacBooks, iPhones and iWatches."

The global fashion publication by Conde Nast is slated to launch in the second half of the year, through a licence agreement with local publisher Indochine Media Ventures (IMV).

Mr Norman Tan, 37, editor-in-chief of Vogue Singapore, apologised for the "lapse in judgment" on Instagram the next day.

He said the team members were allowed to return to work on June 2. Prior to that, they "adopted and implemented safeguards" like safe distancing, sanitisation stations, temperature checks, recording each person that entered the office and the wearing of masks.

Mr Tan said: "However, when I met the team yesterday, we were all excited to see each other and decided to gather for a photo. It was such a joy to see members of the team in person after months of seeing them only through a screen. I recognise that this was a lapse in judgment and I apologise for the concern this might have caused."

All publications under IMV will work from home for the rest of phase one immediately, he added.

When contacted, MOM referred The New Paper to its latest advisory, which said: "Employers must ensure that employees do not socialise or congregate in groups at the workplace, including during meals or breaks.

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"Where physical interaction cannot be avoided, precautions should be taken to ensure clear physical spacing of at least one metre between persons at all times."

Three workplaces were forced to stop operations for failing to implement adequate safe management measures, including instructing staff to return to the office instead of allowing them to work from home, said MOM on June 3.

ManpowerGroup Singapore country manager Linda Teo said: "Both employers and employees have to recognise that there could be multiple waves of infection if we do not play our part to flatten the curve. If companies were not prepared before the circuit breaker, they have to start looking into how best to get work done remotely now."

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