Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) will be expanded to religious services in Singapore from Feb. 1, 2022.
However, unvaccinated individuals can continue to attend private worship services in a place of worship in groups of five at any one time.
This is one of the updated guidelines issued by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Crisis Preparedness for Religious Organisations on Jan. 25.
According to the guidelines, private worshippers must remain masked at all times while in the place of worship.
They may also interact with a religious worker who is fully vaccinated, with at least 1m safe distancing between the group and the religious worker.
There should be no mingling between the private worship group and persons involved in worship services and other religious activities, which have to follow VDS.
Congregational and worship services guidelines
For congregational and worship services, only vaccinated individuals are allowed to attend from Feb. 1.
Up to 1,000 vaccinated worshippers are allowed at one time, subject to safe management measures (SMMs) and the safe capacity of the premises.
This cap excludes religious and supporting workers, who must also be fully vaccinated.
Worshippers have to be segregated into zones with no more than 100 worshippers each. There should be no mingling of individuals across the zones.
Worshippers must also be seated in groups of no more than five persons, with 1m safe distancing between each group.
For Children aged 12 and below
Unvaccinated children who are 12 years old and below (those born in or after the year 2010) may be exempted from VDS and can be included in the five-person group for congregational and worship services, as long as the children in the group are from the same household.
All persons present, except children below six years of age, must wear a face mask at all times. Face shields are not permitted as substitutes for face masks.
Young children, however, are still strongly encouraged to use a mask.
Singing by worshippers with masks on is not permitted.
Live performance elements are allowed during the worship service.
Only a maximum of 50 persons are allowed to be involved in the conduct of the worship service. This includes persons on-stage, backstage or off-stage.
Up to 20 persons who are involved in the conduct of the worship service may unmask at any given time. This cap includes performers who have to unmask for singing or playing of wind/ brass instruments.
But from Feb. 1, unmasked performers must obtain a negative Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result, taken within 24 hours before the end of the live performance.
More information on Covid-19 guidelines in places of worship can be found here.
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Top image via MCCY/FB.