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Dining in, social visits, sports activities and more can now resume

Singapore has made another significant step in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic as the authorities announced phase two of the country’s safe re-opening will commence this Friday (June 19). This comes about two weeks after Singapore exited the circuit breaker period and slowly eased into resuming activities.

As announced by the multi-ministry taskforce on May 19, there will be a three-phased approach to the resumption of services and activities. The first two weeks of June were critical as community infection rates had to remain low in order to move from phase one to phase two before the end of the month.

(Related: These Airlines Have Resumed Flights From Singapore)

Phase two means that almost the entire economy will be re-opened as retailers, F&B outlets, consumer services, sports facilities and clubs will be allowed to re-open. Shopping malls will also be fully functioning, while The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands will undergo a phased reopening. Social interactions will be allowed to resume albeit in groups of no more than five. The same rule applies to households, which may only receive up to five visitors at a time. Face masks remain compulsory in public settings. 

In a media release, the Ministry of Health said: “Community infection rates have remained generally stable despite the increase in workplace activity in Phase 1 of re-opening. The incidence of cases in migrant worker dormitories has also declined, and there are no new large clusters emerging.” 

Speaking at a Covid-19 virtual press conference yesterday evening, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong noted that despite the new measures, phase two should not be taken “as a signal that we can all relax”. It remains necessary to uphold all precautions and as a default, safe distancing measures must still be in place.

There are still restrictions that have not been eased, including religious services and congregations, entertainment venues and large-scale events like concerts. It could be months before Singapore reaches the third and final stage of its phased reopening, added Minister Lawrence Wong.

“The Multi-Ministry Taskforce will continue to monitor the situation closely, with the aim of continuing to ease measures, until we reach a new normal in phase three,” MOH said.

As we work collectively towards a Covid-safe Singapore, here’s what you need to take note of from June 19:

What you can do

Retail businesses have kept their brick-and-mortar stores closed, but shopping at physical outlets will be possible again. However, larger public venues, like shopping malls and large retail outlets must restrict capacity and prevent crowds or long queues from forming.

While food and beverage outlets have been limited to takeaway and delivery services since the circuit breaker, dining-in at restaurants in groups of up to five people will be allowed in phase two. However, live music, television and video screening are not allowed at these premises, and liquor sales and consumption must cease at 10:30 pm.

Sports and personal health
No more Zoom workouts and yoga classes—personal health and wellness activities will resume in phase two, with sports, parks and other public facilities reopening as well. These include playgrounds, beaches, swimming complexes, sports halls, gyms and fitness studios, function rooms, and similar facilities in private condominiums and clubs.

Healthcare services
Healthcare had been limited to essential services during phase one, but all services are set to resume in phase two. These include individual health screening, aesthetic services, as well as face-to-face visit at residential facilities for the elderly, with safe distancing and precautionary measures in place.

Social visits
While homes could only receive up to two visitors from the same household previously, they may now receive up to five guests at any one time from other households.

Solemnisation held at home, the Registry of Marriages, or the Registry of Muslim Marriages, may take place with up to ten people, excluding the solemniser. However, solemnisation ceremonies held at other venues may take place with up to twenty, excluding the solemniser.

Wakes and funerals
Previously limited to ten people, wakes and funerals may now be held with up to twenty persons at any one time.

From end-June, schools will fully reopen, with institutes of higher learning gradually increasing the number of students on campus at any one time for face-to-face learning. More information will be announced by the Ministry of Education this week.

What you can't do

Religious services and congregations
Religious services will take more time to resume to prevent the forming of clusters. However, some religious venues have been open since phase one to receive individuals and members of the same household for private worship.

Cultural venues
Libraries and museums remained closed in phase two, so if you are longing to get in touch with arts and culture, check out these online resources.

Large-scale events
Events such as conferences, exhibitions, concerts and trade fairs will not resume just yet. This includes the National Day Parade, which will be moved to the heartlands around the island and streamed live to allow celebrations at home. Another major event in Singapore’s social calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix has also been cancelled. However, there are still many virtual events you can attend to stay entertained.

Entertainment venues
Venues such as bars, nightclubs, karaoke outlets, cinemas, theatres, as well as indoor and outdoor attractions, which Minister Lawrence Wong notes “are of higher risk” and “involving large numbers of people that are likely to come into close contact”, will remain closed in phase two.