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'End of stabilisation phase': Group size limits for dining in, social gatherings of up to 5 from Nov 22

SINGAPORE — From Monday (Nov 22), fully vaccinated people can dine together in groups of up to five, even if they are not from the same household.

'End of stabilisation phase': Group size limits for dining in, social gatherings of up to 5 from Nov 22
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  • Fully vaccinated people can dine together in groups of up to five from Nov 22, even if they are not from the same household
  • Cap of two persons for social gatherings will also be raised to five persons
  • This follows Singapore’s move from a Covid-19 “stabilisation phase” to a “transition phase”
  • Cobid-19 regulations for weddings will also be eased with some conditions

 

SINGAPORE — From Monday (Nov 22), fully vaccinated people can dine together in groups of up to five, even if they are not from the same household.

The two-person cap on social gatherings will also be raised to five persons, and households may take in up to five distinct visitors a day from Monday.

The changes came after the Government announced that the Covid-19 "stabilisation phase" will end on Sunday.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that Singapore will move into the “transition phase” of its reopening plan, bringing the country back on track on its  four-stage roadmap to live with Covid-19.

Right now, fully vaccinated people are allowed to dine at food establishments in groups of up to five only if they are from the same household. If they are from different households, they may only dine in pairs.

The easing of measures were in view of the Covid-19 situation having improved since the stabilisation phase was extended for a month in October.

In its statement, MOH said that as far as possible, households should accept only visitors who are vaccinated, so as to protect those who are not vaccinated from exposure to the coronavirus. It also said that unvaccinated people should protect themselves by staying home as much as possible.

“Visitors to households that have an unvaccinated person or vulnerable elderly are strongly encouraged to test themselves prior to the visit to ensure that they do not unwittingly transmit Covid-19 to those who are vulnerable.”

 

EASING OF RESTRICTIONS

When the restriction eases on Monday, unvaccinated children aged 12 and below — that is, those born in 2009 or later — may be included within the group of five persons so long as all these children are from the same household.

Unvaccinated people of all ages may also dine in groups of up to five from Dec 1 — if they are certified to be medically ineligible for the Covid-19 vaccines.

Hawker centres and coffee shops may allow group sizes of up to five people after they have set up processes to check on the vaccination status of patrons. Otherwise, they may only take in fully vaccinated diners in groups of up to two.

MOH said that the first group of hawker centres and coffee shops are ready to begin checks on vaccination statuses from Tuesday. 

The ministry said: “The National Environment Agency (NEA) has been actively consulting the hawkers’ associations and working with the town councils and NEA-appointed operators to also implement access control with vaccination checks at entry points at the remaining hawker centres by the end of November 2021.”

From Monday, Covid-19 regulations for weddings will also be eased, if organisers put in place extra precautions.

Wedding couples will be allowed to take off their masks throughout their wedding reception or solemnisation. 

Up to 10 members of the wedding party, such as the bridesmaids and groomsmen, will also be allowed to take off their masks when singing at the reception.

To be eligible for these relaxed measures, the wedding couple and those members of the wedding party must either take an antigen rapid test under the supervision of the venue operator, or have a valid pre-event testing certification taken 24 hours before the event. 

More details will be given in a separate advisory by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

As for workplaces, work from home will remain the default arrangement for companies.

Covid-19 community measures from Nov 22, 2021.

COVID-19 SITUATION

At a news conference on Saturday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the national Covid-19 task force had timed the easing of restrictions to allow some time to pass before the year-end festivities.

“We don't want to do an opening move that is significant in the month of December,” the co-chair of the task force said.

“Social activities will spike very high and it can drive and spark off a new wave. So (we decided to) open up earlier to allow society, families, friends to gradually ease into a festive mood.”

Mr Ong pointed to a number of indicators that had prompted the task force to ease restrictions.

He noted that the total number of Covid-19 patients has come down from a peak of 26,386 on Oct 29 to slightly above 15,000. 

The majority of these patients are recovering from home.

About 3,000 patients are being discharged every day.

He added that despite a “very noticeable” increase in footfall in public spaces throughout the past few weeks, the reproduction rate of the disease has held steady at 0.9 to 1.0.

This reproduction rate, or R, is the number of people to whom one infected person will pass on the coronavirus, on average.

Mr Ong said that the footfall measured across popular destinations is now only about 5 per cent less than at the peak of the preparatory phase in September, when up to five fully vaccinated people from different households were allowed to meet or dine in at restaurants and eateries.

“This is a good sign. It means that more human activity did not drive infections and hospitalisations up,” Mr Ong said. “And what it means is this: Our society is becoming more resilient to the virus.”

Over the past week, the ratio of community cases compared to the week before has remained stable at around 0.8 to 1.0.  A ratio of above 1.0 means that infections are continuing to rise and putting pressure on the healthcare system.

 

MOH said that out of the infected cases, close to 99 per cent continue to have mild or no symptoms and the vast majority are recovering well at home.

Over the past 28 days, the proportion of patients who require oxygen support has held steady at 0.8 per cent of total cases, and those who require intensive care at 0.2 per cent. 

“The number of cases in the intensive care unit (ICU) remains high but stable in the past week at around 120 cases per day,” MOH said, adding that the overall ICU occupancy in the past week is at around 60 per cent. 

“The unvaccinated continue to make up a disproportionate number of ICU patients and those requiring hospitalisation.”

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Covid-19 coronavirus MOH dining F&B social gatherings wedding

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