COVID-19: Phase 2 reopening to start on Friday, social groups and household visitors capped at 5

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SINGAPORE - JUNE 12: A woman wearing protective masks scans a Safe Entry QR code before entering a bank on June 12, 2020 in Singapore. From June 2, Singapore embarked on phase one of a three phase approach against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it began to ease the partial lockdown measures by allowing the safe re-opening of economic activities which do not pose high risk of transmission. This include the resumption of selected health services, re-opening of schools with school children attending schools on rotational basis, manufacturing and production facilities, construction sites that adhere to safety measures, finance and information services that do not require interactions and places of worship, amongst others. Retail outlets, social and entertainment activities will remain closed and dining in at food and beverage outlets will still be disallowed. The government will decide further to ease restriction by the middle of June if the infection rate within the community remains low.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
A woman wearing a protective mask scans a Safe Entry QR code before entering a bank on 12 June 2020 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Phase 2 of Singapore’s re-opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic will start this Friday (19 June), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced on Monday.

Households can receive up to five visitors at any one point and small social groups of a maximum of five people each can gather, while dining in at food and beverage outlets will be allowed in groups of up to five each in Phase 2, Gan said. Measures should be put in place to ensure that individuals maintain safe distancing of at least one metre at all times.

Gan, who also co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19, made the announcement at a virtual media conference helmed by the MTF.

“On one hand, we want to allow economic and community activities to resume. On the other hand, you must continue to keep infection under control. This is a very delicate balance we have to strike and to succeed, we will need a collective effort of every Singaporean to be socially responsible and adhere to strictly safe distancing measures,” said Gan.

Some exceptions

The taskforce also announced that retail businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday, provided safety measures are put in place. The full list of businesses that will be allowed to resume will be published on the Ministry of Trade and Industry website.

Meanwhile, enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors will remain active on the ground to ensure that rules on the wearing of masks and safe distancing are observed.

National Development Minister and fellow MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong noted, “We are fully cognisant of the fact that we may have new cases emerging as the community return to many of the routines that they were accustomed to.”

Joking that he sounded like a “broken recorder”, he added, “It's one thing to comply with the rules because you have an enforcement officer waiting and you don't want to be fined. But best of all, we encourage everyone to comply because of your own self-interest, right?

“Because you want to protect yourself, protect your family members, because all of us need to really look at the spirit of the requirements and do our part to allow for the reopening to take place in a safe and sustainable manner.”

The media conference was held on the same day that the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 214 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Monday noon, bringing the total number of cases to 40,818. It is the country’s lowest daily reported tally in over two months.

Following a partial lockdown of the country from 7 April to 1 June, Singapore began the first phase of its reopening on 2 June. The reopening will be spread out over three phases.

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