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16 Jul 2021

16th Jul 2021

      The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) had earlier announced a calibrated path for resumption of more economic and social activities under Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 12 July 2021 onwards. It will depend heavily on our population vaccination rate, and we aim to have two-thirds of our population complete the vaccination regimen by National Day. However, the new infection clusters that emerged in this past week have been a setback to the efforts of our people in the battle against COVID-19. We have to act quickly now to contain the spread of the virus in our community, but recognising that a good proportion of our population are now fully vaccinated. While this setback will delay our re-opening plans, the significant and continuing progress made in our vaccination efforts will put us in a strong position to safely re-open our economy and society once the latest situation is contained.

Suspension of All Pivoted Nightlife Establishments

2.    Within the community, we detected a number of clusters in multiple KTV lounges or nightclubs that had pivoted to operate as Food & Beverage (F&B) establishments. To break potential chains of transmission, we have undertaken testing operations for staff and those who have visited these identified premises. Even as we do so, we are identifying more cases and clusters in such similar settings.

3.    Since October 2020, nightlife establishments have not been allowed to operate but, upon representation by the industry, have been allowed to pivot into F&B operations. Regrettably, several errant establishments have abused the system by operating clandestine and illegal activities. Three such F&B establishments have since had their licenses to serve food revoked by the Singapore Food Agency. We will continue to take strict enforcement actions against all F&B operators who breach the safe management measures (SMMs).

4.     In addition, we will implement a two-week suspension of operations from 16 July 2021 through 30 July 2021 for all nightlife establishments that had pivoted into F&B establishments. There are over 400 such establishments, and they will be individually notified about the suspension. During this period, we will test all the staff of these establishments. We will also inspect the SMM protocols in these establishments, and ensure these are properly implemented, before they are allowed to resume F&B operations.

Aggressive Ringfencing Around Cases

5.     To mitigate the risk of wider, undetected community transmission, we will aggressively ringfence cases emerging around the KTV cluster through the use of SafeEntry (SE) data:

  • Individuals who have been identified to have visited hotspots at the same time as a confirmed COVID-19 case will receive an SMS “Health Risk Warning”.
  • These individuals will be required under the law to get tested at a designated testing centre and self-isolate until they receive a negative test from their first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
  • As such individuals who test negative could still be incubating the virus, they should still limit their interactions with others as an added precaution for 14 days from their last exposure and only undertake essential activities during this period.
  • These individuals will also be issued with self-test Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits when they come forward to do their first PCR test. They will be required to self-administer an ART test on the 7th day from the last exposure to confirm that they are not infected.
  • They will also be required to undergo another PCR test at designated testing centres around the 14th day from their date of last known exposure for assurance that they are not incubating the virus.
  • If these individuals should develop any acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, or fever, they should see their doctor immediately.

6.     We will also be sending a “Health Risk Alert” via SMS to individuals who have visited the locations where these nightlife establishments operating as F&B establishments are located in, or at other similar establishments flagged out by the Singapore Police Force:


a. Unlike “Health Risk Warning”, these individuals are not subject to actions required by the law. However, they should monitor their health and limit their interactions with others for 14 days from their last exposure as an added precaution.

b. They are encouraged to also purchase self-test ART kits from retail pharmacies and do self-tests regularly over the 14 days.

7.  Individuals who have recently visited such nightlife establishments now operating as F&B establishments, and/or interacted with social hostesses in any settings between 29 June 2021 to 15 July 2021 are to come forward for a free swab test [1]. They may also go to a private clinic and pay for tests. Similarly, individuals who develop any ARI symptoms, such as cough, runny nose or fever, should see their doctor immediately.

Tightening of Selected Safe Management Measures in Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 19 July 2021

8.    To mitigate further community spread, we will tighten community SMMs for higher-risk indoor, mask-off settings with effect from 19 July 2021 through 8 August 2021 (both dates inclusive). Please refer to Annex A for full details on the updated SMMs.

Dining-In at Food & Beverage (F&B) establishments

9.     Dining-in at F&B establishments will be dialled back to groups of up to 2 persons, i.e. a decrease from the groups of up to 5 persons allowed currently.

10.    As fully-vaccinated individuals have good protection against infection and severe illness, and are also less likely to infect others as compared to unvaccinated individuals, we will allow fully-vaccinated individuals to continue to dine-in in groups of up to 5 persons, at participating F&B establishments that have put in place systems to check the status of such individuals. An individual is considered fully-vaccinated two weeks after he or she has received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech/ Comirnaty or Moderna vaccines. Unvaccinated individuals with a valid negative pre-event test (PET) result or recovered individuals are of similarly lower risk, and may also join in such groups of 5.

11.   Children below the age of 12 are currently ineligible for any COVID-19 vaccine in our national vaccination programme. It is also more challenging to swab these young children for PET. We will therefore allow a concession for members of the same household to dine together with their unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below, without the need for PET for the children. This whole group should not exceed 5 persons. If the children are not from the same household, then they should constitute not more than half the dine-in group.

12.   In summary, the following individuals will be eligible to dine-in in a group of up to five persons in an F&B establishment:

  1. A fully vaccinated person;
  2. A person who has recovered from COVID-19 (within 270 days);
  3. An unvaccinated person who has a valid negative PET result for the duration of his dining-in[2]; or
  4. A child aged 12 years and below.                                             

 Annex B illustrates different scenarios involving such dine-in groups.

13.    Individual F&B establishments have the flexibility to decide whether to introduce the vaccination-differentiated group sizes, depending on their own operating model and clientele, and their ability to check the status of dining-in individuals.     

14.     As hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops have a more porous setting and generally do not impose mandatory SE check-in, it would be very challenging to check the status of individuals before they seat themselves at a table. Hence, group sizes will be limited to 2 persons for hawker centres, food courts, and coffee shops as a default.


15.     As dining-in in F&B establishments remains a high-risk activity because many people will be unmasked and in close proximity with each other, entertainment such as live performances, recorded music and videos/TV screening, will continue to be prohibited at F&B establishments.

16.     Patrons to F&B establishments are also reminded to adhere to all SMMs and keep their masks on at all times except when eating or drinking.

Wedding Receptions

17.    Wedding receptions will continue at the current group size of up to 5 persons per table, without the requirement for all individuals in the group to be fully vaccinated. There will be no change to the PET requirement, i.e. up to 250 persons with PET and 50 persons with PET only for the wedding party.

18.     We acknowledge that wedding couples have faced significant uncertainties over the past few months. Hence, we will allow this key life event to continue at current numbers and PET provisions, so that couples do not need to revise their wedding plans again.

Indoor, High-Intensity Mask-off Sports/Exercise activities.

19.    Outdoor activities (mask-on and mask-off) and indoor mask-on activities: These can continue in groups of no more than 5 persons, in classes of up to 50 persons including the instructor, subject to the venue’s capacity limit, whichever is lower. This is irrespective of vaccination or test status.

20.   Indoor high-intensity mask-off activities:

a) We will be reducing the group size to no more than 2 persons, in classes of up to 30 persons including the instructor, without the need for testing or vaccination.

b) These activities can continue in groups of up to 5 persons in classes of up to 30 persons provided all individuals in the class are fully vaccinated, or are a recovered patient, or have a valid negative COVID-19 test result covering the duration of the class.

c)  However, for activities that involve children aged 12 years and below who are not vaccinated, the group size limit will remain at 2 persons, in classes of up to 30 persons.

d)   The class size of up to 30 persons is also subject to the venue’s capacity limit, whichever is lower.

21.   SportSG will release more details on this.


Social gatherings at the workplace

22.   Work-from-home will continue to remain the default arrangement so as to reduce overall interaction within workplaces and on public transport. Employers are reminded to adhere to the practice. Employees who need to come to the workplace must continue to stagger their start times and observe flexible working hours.

23.    Social and recreational gatherings at the workplace will be disallowed and work-related events (e.g. product launches, townhalls) should continue to not serve F&B at the event itself.

Targeted Support Measures

24.     In view of the tightened safe management measures of various activities until 8 August, the Government will extend the 10% Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for the affected sectors from 26 July 2021 to 8 August 2021. This will provide support to licensed F&B businesses, gyms, fitness studios, performing arts organisations and arts education centres. Please refer to Annex C for details.

25.    To provide targeted support to hawkers who are self-employed, the Government will extend the rental waivers and subsidies for fees for table-cleaning and centralised dishwashing services by one month for stallholders in centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators.

Towards a COVID-19 Endemic Singapore

26.    We have made significant progress in reopening and vaccinating the Singapore population since the start of this year and we must not lose our momentum. Any further steps towards reopening and a Singapore with endemic COVID-19 will only be possible when everyone stays vigilant and continue to adhere to the SMMs, and we are able to protect more of the population through vaccination.

27.    We urge everyone who is eligible, in particular our seniors, to step forward and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We encourage all to register their interest via vaccine.gov.sg and book their appointments.

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH
16 JULY 2021



[1] Sites where individuals can be swabbed can be found at: go.gov.sg/ktv-testing

[2] The PET must have been taken in the past 24 hours before the expected end of the event.