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COVID-19: Entry at malls, places of worship and others to be tightened

·Editorial Team
·3 min read

SINGAPORE — New entry restrictions at various public places in Singapore such as places of worship and shopping malls will be in place from Sunday (16 May) to 13 June amid a surge in community cases in Singapore.

Making the announcement at a news conference on Friday (14 May), the multi-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19 said pre-event testing (PET) remains an essential measure to help ensure that events can proceed safely for attendees.

The curbs are among the additional measures and restrictions under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

Congregational and other worship services may continue with a reduced capacity of 50 attendees at any one time without PET, or up to 100 attendees at any one time with PET implemented. To further mitigate the risk of spread through aerosol transmissions, religious workers and all other participants must wear their masks at all times. Live singing and playing of wind instruments will also be suspended during this period.

The occupancy limits for shopping malls and showrooms will be further reduced from the current limit of 10sqm per person of gross floor area (GFA), to 16sqm per person. Odd and even date entry restrictions on Sundays for popular malls will continue.

The operating capacity of attractions that have received prior approval by the authorities will be reduced to 25 per cent from the current permissible capacity of 50 per cent. Indoor and outdoor shows may proceed with up to 100 persons with PET, and up to 50 persons without PET.

Museums and public libraries will be allowed to operate at a reduced capacity of 25 per cent.

Cinema halls can only allow up to 100 persons with PET in place. Without PET, only up to 50 persons may be allowed. The prevailing group size of two persons applies, and food and beverages cannot be sold or consumed in the cinema.

Up to 100 persons may be allowed at MICE events and live performances with PET, and up to 50 persons may be allowed without PET. Unmasking is not allowed for speakers and performers, and there should be no singing or playing of wind and brass instruments.

Wedding receptions will not be allowed in line with measures on the temporary ban on dine-in F&B establishments during the period. Marriage solemnisations may continue for up to 100 participants with PET and 50 participants without PET.

Attendance at all days of funerals including burial and cremation is 20 persons or less, down from 30 persons currently.

Enhanced testing regime

The authorities will also begin Antigen Rapid Testing (ART) for all who present themselves with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms at Swab and Send Home (SASH) public health preparedness clinics (PHPCs), polyclinics, emergency departments and regional swab centres (RSCs). This ART will be done together with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that all such patients are already subjected to. Both the ART and PCR tests will be funded by the government for all individuals with ARI symptoms.

“While the ART is less accurate than the PCR test, and there will be more false positives and false negatives, the ART’s quicker turnaround time compared to a PCR test will allow us to take any public health actions more quickly for persons who test positive by ART,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

This enhanced testing regime will be rolled out progressively, starting with around 200 SASH PHPCs that are already licensed as ART providers from Saturday, and will be expanded to include all SASH PHPCs through May alongside polyclinics, emergency departments in hospitals, and RSCs.

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