Singapore will enter the third stage of its phased reopening at the end of the year, as announced on 20 October 2020.
After a 55-day circuit breaker and a two-week implementation of Phase 1 guidelines, the country has been adhering to regulations in Phase 2 in what seemed like forever (technically it’s only been since mid-June, but we’re just being dramatic here). Four months later, we finally have news about moving into Phase 3. Here’s what we know so far.
Increased capacity for group gatherings
The group size for gatherings outside the home could be increased to eight persons. Similarly, the number of visitors to each household would also increase to eight.
Widening capacity limits for events
At present, public venues such as museums and attractions are open with capacity limits, and during Phase 3 these capacity limits could be increased, permitting multiple zones of 50 persons.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) : “All of these adjustments would have to be done in a controlled manner, setting by setting, over the course of Phase Three, and additional measures would apply for specific settings.”
Additional safety measures would also be required for higher-risk activities such as wedding receptions, where large groups of people are gathered for a meal without their masks on. This would include having all guests go through a pre-event Covid-19 test.
Other measures also include sending video and photographic footage of the events to government agencies, aimed at facilitating checks and investigations over any breaches of safe management rules.
Nightlife businesses likely to be on hold
Due to the high risk of transmission at bars, pubs, karaoke lounges at nightclubs, these nightlife locales will remain closed even at the start of Phase 3.
MOH states that they will discuss these possibilities with the nightlife industry, “but we have to be realistic that it will take a long time for the industry to fully reopen in its original form.”
Despite the dim outlook, authorities are prepared to consider a few limited pilots in these settings, subject to a more stringent set of measures, including pre-entry Covid-19 testing, to explore how the industry can resume safely.
Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the governmental task force tackling Covid-19 with Minister Gan Kim Yong, noted that residents have to work together to ensure that the country can enter Phase 3 before the end of the year.
“This means that as we allow more activities to resume, adherence to the safe management and safe distancing measures becomes even more critical,” he said.
“Phase three is not a declaration of victory, and all of us should go around celebrating and forget about the measures. It’s a milestone, that we are saying we have now put in place reasonable measures and safeguards, and we should continue to retain these safeguards,” says Minister Gan Kim Yong.
Minister Wong adds that the timeline will be pushed back should the community let their guard down and new clusters emerge.
(Main and featured image: Guo Xin Goh/Unsplash)
This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Singapore.