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Covid-19: Live music to resume at 16 religious organisations from Oct 3

SINGAPORE — In a further easing of circuit breaker measures, 16 religious organisations will be able resume live music performances from next Saturday (Oct 3).

Covid-19: Live music to resume at 16 religious organisations from Oct 3

Live music will resume at the Central Sikh Temple in Towner Road next Saturday. As part of safe management measures, the congregation will be at least 3m away from the stage, where musicians will perform religious hymns.

  • The religious organisations will be allowed to resume live music on selected days
  • Only two singers at any one time can be unmasked while singing indoors
  • Musicians and singers must keep 3m away from congregation
  • Religious organisations can apply to expand their worship limit to 250 next Saturday

SINGAPORE — In a further easing of circuit breaker measures, 16 religious organisations will be able resume live music performances from next Saturday (Oct 3).

Mr Edwin Tong, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said on Saturday (Sept 26) that the authorities recognised that music is “an integral part of how one celebrates and practises the faith.”

Speaking during a visit to the Central Sikh Temple, which is one of the 16 participating in the pilot, Mr Tong said that the ministry will study outcomes before deciding how to expand it to other religious organisations, if the Covid-19 situation improves in Singapore.

The religious organisations in the pilot include two Hindu temples, seven churches, three gurdwaras or Sikh temples, two Buddhist temples and two Taoist temples. They are:

  • Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple (Thursdays and Saturdays) and Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (Fridays and Saturdays)

  • St Joseph Church (Bukit Timah), Covenant Evangelical Free Church (Woodlands Centre), Blessed Grace Church, Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church, Zion Full Gospel Church, New Life Community Church, Covenant Vision Christian Church (Saturdays and Sundays for all)

  • Gurdwara Sahib Yishun, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Central Sikh Temple (Saturdays and Sundays for all)

  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore Buddhist Lodge (Saturdays and Sundays for all, and the first and 15th days of the lunar month where applicable)

  • Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple Association, Hougang Tao Mu Temple (Saturdays and Sundays for all, and the first and 15th days of the lunar month where applicable)

They will have to adopt several safe management measures for the live music performances:

  • There can only be up to 10 musicians or singers on stage, with a maximum of five unmasked

  • For indoor singing, only two singers can be unmasked at any one time 

  • 1m safe distancing should be maintained for all masked persons and 2m for unmasked persons, from any other individual

  • At least 3m of distance must be maintained between musicians or singers and the congregation

  • The congregation must remain masked and cannot sing, but may give spoken responses during services

Mr Baljit Singh, the president of the Central Sikh Temple Board, said that under current restrictions, the temple’s three hymn singers have been performing from a dedicated area in the temple away from the general crowd.

These performances are live-streamed to the main prayer hall and to people at home.

 “But it’s nothing like actually having the live singing in the presence of the congregation, in the presence of the Guruji (holy scripture of the Sikhs) itself,” he said.

“We are extremely grateful that we have now reached a stage where we can gradually, and in a calibrated manner bring back live singing so that a higher level of normalcy returns to the gurdwara and our way of life.”

To prepare for the resumption of live music, a stage has been set up in the main prayer hall, 4m away from the congregation.

In the past, all three performers would sing and play music instruments such as the tabla and harmonium at the same time, but under the new safety measures, only two will sing while the third will play an instrument and remain masked.

They will also reduce the volume of their singing to reduce the risk of spreading droplets, said Mr Singh.

At the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple, a Hindu temple in Chinatown in the pilot, priests will no longer wear masks when chanting prayers in the sanctum on Thursdays and Saturdays from next week. 

Temple secretary Ramanathan Periakaruppan said some of them had said they felt breathless when having to chant for a long time, so the news of the relaxed measures was a welcome relief.

Reverend Jason Tan from Zion Full Gospel Church, another of the 16 organisations in the pilot, said the worship experience will be enhanced with live music. 

While the church has yet to set a date to resume live music, he said that when it does so, it plans to have two singers who will remain unmasked and stand 3m away from other band members, who will be masked.


The Government had announced earlier this week that from next Saturday, all religious organisations will be allowed to carry out congregational and worship services for up to 100 people.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said on Saturday that existing caps remain for non-congregational religious activities such as religious classes (50 people) and funerals (30 people). 

But there can now be up to 100 people engaging in several such activities concurrently, up from the current 50.

For places of worship with structured worship services such as churches and mosques, worshippers must be split into two zones of 50 people each for congregational services.

Each zone has to be separated by a physical barrier and there should be separate entrances and exits, or staggered entry and exit timings for each zone to prevent worshippers from different zones interacting.

In Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu temples which have more transient worship settings, worshippers should not crowd in common areas and prayer halls.


Religious organisations which have already been safely conducting worship services for 100 people can apply to MCCY to take in up to 250 congregants at a time from next Saturday.

If given approval, they will have to divide worshippers into five zones of up to 50 persons each for congregational services.

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