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Covid-19: 12 places of worship to be allowed up to 100 people at services from Aug 7, up from limit of 50

SINGAPORE — In a pilot programme, 12 religious organisations here will be allowed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time for congregational and other worship services from Friday (Aug 7) onwards, up from the current limit of a maximum of 50 people.

Covid-19: 12 places of worship to be allowed up to 100 people at services from Aug 7, up from limit of 50

A view of St Andrew's Cathedral. The church is one of 12 religious organisations here that will be allowed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time for congregational and other worship services from Aug 7, 2020 onwards.

SINGAPORE — In a pilot programme, 12 religious organisations here will be allowed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time for congregational and other worship services from Friday (Aug 7) onwards, up from the current limit of a maximum of 50 people.

In a media release on Monday, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said that it has consulted with the various religious leaders — who are also members of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony — to identify the religious organisations for the pilot.

They are:

  • Assyafaah Mosque, Mujahidin Mosque, Al-Istighfar Mosque and Al-Iman Mosque for Friday prayers

  • Sri Mariamman Temple on Fridays and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Saturdays

  • St Andrew’s Cathedral, Jurong Christian Church, Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church and Sengkang Methodist Church on weekends

  • Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery on weekends

  • Central Sikh Temple on weekends

MCCY said that the sites were chosen because they had already safely conducted congregational and other worship services for up to 50 people under the guidelines during this second phase of Singapore’s reopening after the circuit breaker to contain the spread of Covid-19.

As part of the pilot, there will be an implementation of two zones of up to 50 people each for nine of the 12 religious organisations, the ministry said. The exceptions are: The two Hindu temples and the Buddhist temple.

In worship settings where religious services are structured or seated, these zones will help to minimise interactions among the worshippers.

MCCY said that each zone has to be separated by a physical partition or barrier, and that worshippers must maintain a 1m safe distance from one another at all times.

“To avoid interaction between worshippers across zones, there should also be separate entrances and exits or staggered entry and exit timings for each zone,” the ministry said.

It added that for the Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu temples, the safe management measures in place include ensuring that no crowding or bunching occur at the common areas or the prayer halls.

No singing or other live performances will be permitted during the services, because singing is considered “a higher risk activity as it could potentially release a larger amount of droplets”, MCCY said.

There will also be no mingling between groups. Worshippers must take along their own prayer books and other material rather than share common items.

MCCY said that the religious organisations must submit their updated safe management plans to the ministry at least three days before starting the pilot.

The ministry will then assess how well the participating organisations implement the required safe management measures to provide a safe environment for their worshippers before deciding on whether to increase the limit on the number of worshippers for other religious organisations.

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