/No limit on group size, masks not mandatory at workplaces as Singapore eases most Covid-19 rules

No limit on group size, masks not mandatory at workplaces as Singapore eases most Covid-19 rules

SINGAPORE – There will no longer be limits to group sizes or workplace capacities here from next Tuesday (April 26), as Singapore announced a major easing of its remaining Covid-19 safety measures.

For the first time in more than two years, the Republic’s disease outbreak response system condition (Dorscon) level will also be stepped down from orange to yellow, in what Health Minister Ong Ye Kung called a major milestone in Singapore’s pandemic journey. Dorscon gives an indication of the disease outbreak situation and measures needed to control infections.

In a series of sweeping changes and the strongest push yet for a return to normal, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday that from next Tuesday, individuals will no longer be required to keep to a group of 10 people for mask-off activities, while the use of SafeEntry and TraceTogether will cease at most venues.

With the coronavirus situation largely under control, the cap on the number of unique visitors per household, previously 10 people at any one time, will be lifted. Safe distancing will also no longer be required between individuals or between groups, said the ministry.

At the same time, the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 urged Singaporeans to stay vigilant and maintain readiness in the face of potential risks, and stressed that the pandemic is not over.

Mr Ong, who is co-chair of the task force, said one such risk is of a new wave of infections emerging in the coming months as protection from vaccines and past infections wanes. Another worrying risk is of the emergence of a new variant of concern.

“This continues to be a potential curveball that may knock us back to square one, and we must be alert to that,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

All workers may now also return to the workplace from next Tuesday, up from the current limit of 75 per cent of those who can work from home.

Workers will also be allowed to remove their masks at the workplace when they are not interacting physically with others and when they are not in customer-facing areas. Masks are still required indoors outside of work settings.

“While this concession will provide some flexibility for workers as more return to the workplace, everyone is advised to exercise social responsibility and maintain an appropriate safe distance from others while unmasked,” said MOH.

The ministry added that even with these changes, employers are encouraged to retain and promote flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and staggered work hours, as permanent features of the workplace.

There will also be no more capacity limit for large events and settings where there are more than 1,000 participants in mask-on settings. The current limit is 75 per cent of such capacities.