COVID-19: Only soft background music allowed at F&B outlets – Lawrence Wong

Unrecognizable bartender preparing refreshing cocktail
A bartender preparing a cocktail. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Recorded music at food & beverage (F&B) outlets can only be played as soft background music as part of added safe dining-in precautions, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday (21 August).

“We have observed some F&B outlets where the recorded music (piped music) is being played quite loudly. This is a concern because of the risk of people speaking loudly and droplets spreading, especially when diners are in a restaurant in close proximity within a table, without their mask on,” said Wong at a virtual multi-ministry task force press conference.

Live music and broadcasts – across both TV and radio – as well as video screenings remain banned.

A recent UK study found that singing is no more risky than speaking when it comes to the possibility of spreading COVID-19 – rather, volume is the most important risk factor. The aerosol mass-produced rose steeply with an increase in the volume of singing or speaking, by as much as 20 to 30 times.

Wong, who is the taskforce co-chair, also urged diners to refrain from booking multiple tables for large gatherings in F&B outlets, and seek the cooperation of F&B operators to reject such reservations.

Households with more than five people who wish to dine out together may book more than one table but there should not be organised events, celebrations, or parties in an F&B setting involving multiple tables, he noted.

“Because people in such gatherings tend to be mingling amongst themselves without their mask on and there are risks of large clusters forming in such settings,” Wong said.

Enforcement officers will step up their checks in F&B outlets and take action against any breaches of safe distancing rules by individuals or F&B operators, he added.

Organised exercise classes permitted at more places

From 1 September, the authorities will expand the list of public facilities where exercise classes organised by instructors can be held to include more open spaces at SportSG sport centres, parks, and common areas at housing board flats, said Wong.

“The requirement is that all instructors who are conducting such classes will have to be registered and there will be a registration process put in place,” said Wong.

They will also have to be careful in ensuring they can identify all participants in their classes and enforce necessary measures, including temperature screening and safe distancing arrangements, as well as ensuring they comply with them, he added. More details will be released at a later date.

Such organised classes have been allowed to take place in both private and public sports facilities, subject to respective premise owners’ permission and conditions, since the beginning of Singapore’s Phase 2 reopening. They are capped at 50 participants with safe distancing measures in place.

General group exercises that are not organised by instructors will continue to be capped at five people.

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