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Unvaccinated people can continue attending private worship in groups of 5 from Feb 1

SINGAPORE — Unvaccinated individuals may continue attending private prayer services from Feb 1, when vaccination checks for entry to places are expanded to congregational and other worship services. 

Worshippers at Faith Methodist Church in July 2021.

Worshippers at Faith Methodist Church in July 2021.

SINGAPORE — Unvaccinated individuals may continue attending private prayer services from Feb 1, when vaccination checks for entry to places are expanded to congregational and other worship services. 

One group of up to five people will be allowed to conduct a private session at any one time in a place of worship, regardless of their vaccination status, under the updated guidelines for religious activities published on Tuesday (Jan 25) by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Crisis Preparedness for Religious Organisations.

This is in line with the prevailing permissible group size of up to five people. 

These private worshippers must be masked at all times. They may also interact with a religious worker who is fully vaccinated, with at least 1m safe distancing between the group and the worker. 

There should be no mingling between the private worship group and the people involved in worship services and other religious activities, which are subject to the regulations pertaining to vaccination checks. 

CONGREGATIONAL AND WORSHIP SERVICES

From next month, only fully vaccinated worshippers, religious and supporting workers can attend congregational and worship services. 

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Dec 14 last year that all events, regardless of size, must have vaccine-related infection controls from February. 

Congregational and other worship services at places of worship may cater up to 1,000 worshippers at a time, subject to Covid-19 safety regulations. 

Worshippers have to be segregated into zones of no more than 100 worshippers each. 

There should be no intermingling between zones, and worshippers should be seated in groups of no more than five people with a 1m safe distancing between each group. 

Unvaccinated children who are 12 years old and below may be exempted from the checks and rules. They may be included in a group of up to five people for congregational and worship services — as long as all the children in the group are from the same household. 

UNMASKED PERFORMERS 

Another key change from Feb 1 requires all unmasked performers in congregational or worship services who are singing or playing wind instruments, or doing both, to obtain a negative Covid-19 test result. 

They may do this either through a Ministry of Health-approved test provider or a self-administered test. The self-administered test must be supervised onsite or virtually by the religious organisation's live performance organiser. 

The religious organisation is required to keep records of unmasked performers and their antigen rapid test results. 

A maximum of 20 people who are involved in the conduct of the worship service can be unmasked at any given time. This capacity includes the performers. 

From Feb 1, religious rites that are not part of a worship service and other religious activities — for instance, pastoral services — will be limited to 50 worshippers at any given time, in groups of up to five people. This is an increase from the current capacity of five worshippers at any given time. 

The revised limit of 50 worshippers excludes the religious and supporting workers whose number should be kept to a minimum.

Religious classes can be held for up to 50 people, including teachers and support staff members, without vaccination checks and related infection controls. Other religious activities are subject to these controls.

The full details of the updated safe management rules are available at the Crisis Preparedness for Religious Organisations' website. CNA

For more stories like this, visit cna.asia.

Related topics

MOH worship Covid-19 coronavirus religion MCCY vaccination

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