SINGAPORE – Work-from-home will remain the default arrangement as Singapore transitions out of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 14 June.
In a press release on Thursday (10 June), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it is essential that transmission risks remain in check by reducing overall footfall and interactions at common spaces at or near the workplace, and in public places, including public transport.
"Employers must ensure that employees who are able to work-from-home do so, continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours. There should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites," the ministry said.
The measure was unveiled by the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19 at a virtual media conference as it announced that Singapore will gradually move back to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) in two steps, with one set of measures taking effect from 14 June and another from 21 June. Singapore is currently in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which will end on 13 June.
Asked when the government might allow more workers to go back to the office, considering that many businesses rely on traffic from office workers, MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong said it did not want to want to "encourage too much movement".
He noted, "We do not want everything to happen all at the same time. I think if we were to do that, the risk of cases coming up, exploding into large clusters will be much higher and then we will have difficulties down the road."
Wong, who is also Finance Minister, added that if case numbers remain generally low and vaccination rates continue to increase, then the government would have the "confidence" to begin adjusting the policy.
Regular COVID tests for staff in selected settings
Additionally, workers who work in settings with unmasked clients or patrons will be placed on a Fast and Easy Testing (FET) regime. These will be done using tests such as the antigen rapid test (ART), regardless of an individual's vaccination status.
The FET will be required of staff such as those working in dine-in establishments in the food and beverage industry; personal care and appearance services that require removal of masks such as facial services, saunas, make-up services; and gyms and fitness studios where clients are unmasked.
"We will be aggressively ramping up FET capacity in the coming months. Mandatory FET testing will be progressively rolled out to larger establishments first and extended to smaller businesses thereafter," the MOH said. "For dine-in F&B establishments, we will roll out mandatory FET testing progressively, starting from next month. Details of the roll-out will be announced when ready."
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