SINGAPORE — Dining-in at food and beverage establishments will continue to resume from next Monday (21 June), but only in groups of two.
This means that a group of more than two diners who are not from the same household is not allowed to dine-in together at these establishments, even if they are split across multiple tables, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Friday.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19, told a virtual media briefing that a family of more than two will be allowed to dine in, “but they have to make very clear that they are from the same household”. They must also be split across different tables and observe a one-metre distance.
But barring another superspreader event or big cluster, such activities can increase to group sizes of up to five persons from mid-July, said the MOH.
While the initial plan was to allow dining-in for groups of five from 21 July, Wong explained that the recent infection cluster at Bukit Merah View, which has now grown to 56 cases as of Thursday, has led the MTF to "adjust our plans".
Alluding to two schools of thought on the matter, Wong noted that some felt the reopening should be pushed back to a much later date till there are consistently "near-zero" new COVID cases, while others felt Singapore should proceed as planned and "not overreact to each and every new cluster".
"We do want to proceed with our reopening more confidently, but our vaccination rates currently are still not high enough to provide sufficient protection," said Wong, adding that authorities are not adopting either approach.
"Instead, we are treading a very careful path forward based on a rigorous assessment of our current situation. And hence, we have decided to break up the reopening into two steps. And our main objective with this staged reopening is to buy time, so that we can continue to speed up our vaccination programme."
Recorded music not allowed
To further mitigate the risk of transmission from patrons talking loudly, recorded music will not be allowed in F&B establishments, in addition to the current restrictions on videos or TV screening and live entertainment at F&B establishments, said the MOH.
Wong also warned that enforcement will be stepped up."We will take strict enforcement actions against any establishment that breaches these rules because they will really put everyone at risk."
First-time individual offenders face a composition fine of $300. Repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases.
If safe management measures breaches associated with nightlife activities, such as employing hostesses, allowing live entertainment and games are observed, agencies also reserve the right to permanently revoke offenders’ Food Shop, Public Entertainment or Liquor Licences from the first instance.
Wedding receptions, where attendees tend to socialise more and over a longer period of time, will remain prohibited until mid-July.
Gyms and fitness studios may resume indoor mask-off sports or exercise activities in group sizes of up to two and in classes of up to 30 persons including the instructor, with safe distancing of at least 2m between individuals and 3m between groups.
For mask-on activities and outdoor mask-off activities, these can continue in groups of no more than five persons, in classes of up to 30 persons including the instructor, said the MOH, adding that SportSG will release more details on this measure.
Separately, all water play areas, water recreational facilities, campsites and barbecue pits in National Parks Board (NParks)-managed parks and gardens will remain closed until further notice.
Access to some parks, sections of beaches, lawns, and facilities – such as hard courts, shelters and car parks – will be temporarily closed when these areas get too crowded or where people remain non-compliant with safe management measures.
Agencies will step up enforcement efforts at other identified hotspots, such as parks, beaches, and common areas of HDB estates such as hardcourts, basketball courts, and pavilions.
Over the past weekend, 61 individuals were issued fines for breaching safe management measures in parks and beaches managed by NParks.
These breaches include not wearing masks when not engaging in strenuous exercises, and gathering in groups larger than the permitted limit.
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