The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here. Singapore will be raising the size of group gatherings from five to 10 people, as well as making mask-wearing outdoors optional from March 29. The updates were shared by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a national address March 24.
According to PM Lee, these changes are a part of the country’s “decisive step forward” to living with Covid-19.
“After this major step, we will wait a while to let the situation stabilise. If all goes well, we will ease up further,” he said.
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“With more interactions, we too may see another wave of cases, and Omicron will not be the last variant we encounter. The virus will continue to evolve,” said Mr Lee. “Hopefully, new variants will become progressively milder and more flu-like. But it is also possible that more aggressive and dangerous mutants will turn up, just like Delta did.”
If that happens, Singapore may have to backtrack and tighten up restrictions again, he said.
He also urged Singaporeans to enjoy the loosened restrictions but to still remain careful.
“Resume more normal lives, enjoy larger gatherings of family and friends, go outdoors without masks, or reunite with loved ones abroad. But do not throw all caution to the wind,” he said. “Let us all continue to exercise personal and social responsibility: To keep ourselves well, to keep others safe, to avoid adding to the burden on our healthcare workers.”
Following his national address, the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force took over in a press conference where more details were given about the updated restrictions. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Group sizes have been increased to 10
After years of adhering to all the Covid-19 restrictions and adapting to strict dining restrictions, it certainly feels like a collective and national win that Singapore will now be allowing groups of 10 vaccinated individuals to dine in at food and beverage outlets, as well as gather and visit households from March 29.
This also applies to hawker centres and coffee shops where full vaccination-differentiated checks are implemented at their entrances, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) on March 24.
"To ease the operational burden for F&B operators, we will allow all F&B establishments to seat smaller groups of up to five fully vaccinated persons, without the need for full Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) checks at their entrance,” said MOH in its media release.
“Instead, random spot-checks will be done to ensure that only vaccinated persons are dining-in at these places, and the onus will be on the dining-in individuals to abide by the rules,” it continued.
Additionally, the current restriction on the sale and consumption of alcohol after 10.30 pm at F&B outlets will be lifted and live performances will be allowed to resume at all venues.
"We will also lift the restriction on the screening of live broadcast programmes and recorded entertainment in F&B establishments,” said MOH.