Update on Mar. 24, 12:40pm: This article was updated to include more information on changes to the SMMs from the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) press conference after PM Lee's national address.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced the relaxation of various safe management measures during his national address on Mar. 24.
PM Lee explained that this is Singapore's "decisive" move towards living with Covid-19.
The following changes were announced.
- The group size for social gatherings will be doubled from the current five persons limit to 10 persons.
- Up to 75 per cent of employees who can work from home will be able to return to the workplace.
- The capacity limit for larger events and settings of more than 1,000 people will be increased to 75 per cent.
- Lastly, wearing masks outdoors will be optional.
For the latter, PM Lee shared that the risk of outdoor transmission is significantly lower.
However, indoor mask-wearing will still be mandatory.
These various changes will take effect on Tuesday, Mar. 29.
Safe-distancing requirements will also be maintained for now, one metre between groups where masks are off, to minimise transmission in mask-off settings.
No entrance checks for groups of five fully vaccinated people at F&B outlets
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, and co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) provided additional details about the upcoming changes to the safe management measures (SMMs) during an MTF press conference after PM Lee's national address.
Wong shared that the F&B operators have to ensure that the 10 persons dining together are fully vaccinated.
However, Wong said the government recognises that some F&B operators might face difficulties implementing these access control points and doing checks on their customers, especially for coffee shop and hawker centre operators.
Therefore, some adjustments to the SMMs will be made.
All F&B operators are allowed to seat groups of up to five fully vaccinated persons without the need for full checks at the entrance.
At eateries where upfront checks cannot be carried out, random spot checks will be conducted instead to ensure that only vaccinated persons are dining in.
"The onus will be placed on the dining in individual to abide by the rules, namely that they should be fully vaccinated," Wong said.
This change will hopefully ease the operational burden for F&B operators.
Thanked healthcare workers
PM Lee noted in his address that over the last two weeks, daily Covid-19 cases have been decreasing, with a week-on-week ratio of around 0.8.
It is thus predicted that the number of daily infections will halve in about three weeks.
Lee shared that this was only achieved "through everyone's collective effort".
He also thanked healthcare workers for their "tremendous sacrifices at a heavy personal cost".
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Top photo from Zheng Zhangxin and PMO.