Singapore Implements Stricter COVID-19 Safety Measures For Schools, Social Gatherings, And Workplaces

Ally Villar
·6-min read

With the recent rise in community cases, social gatherings are being reduced from groups of eight people to five. Stricter safe management measures will also be put in place in preschools, and workplace gatherings will be brought down from 75 percent to 50 percent capacity.

These are just a few among the many heightened safety measures that were announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (4 May).

Singapore Tightens Safety Measures At Home And School, As Well As In Workspaces

Image source: iStock

According to the recent press release from MOH, the new COVID-19 safety measures at home and school will take effect from 8 May up till 30 May, 2021.

Based on the community measures released by MOH, here are the changes you can expect to see in public areas.

  • Social gatherings

In addition to capping the total capacity per social gathering to five, MOH has advised that citizens attend only up to two social gatherings per day. This includes to another household or meeting up with friends and family members in a public space.

The limits for visitors per household daily will also be reduced to only five distinct persons.

  • Workplace

From the previous 75 percent, no more than 50 percent of employees are now allowed to return to the workplace if they are able to work from home.

Social gatherings at workplaces will also be reduced to only five persons at a time. But as much as possible, social gatherings should be avoided entirely.

Split team arrangements are not required. Although, employers are advised to continue staggering start times for employees who need to return to the workplace. Companies are also advised to implement flexible working hours.

  • Gyms and fitness studios

Indoor fitness studios and gymnasiums will also be closed until 30 May. This is because they have been identified as high-risk spaces.

“These are small enclosed spaces where people are frequently unmasked while exercising, and in close proximity with many other unmasked people,” explains MOH in their statement.

Outdoor exercise programmes may continue to be organised with a class limit of 30 in total. Group sizes will also have to be kept up to five persons with a 3m distance between each group.

  • Events and venues

Event sizes will be reduced to minimise the risk of large COVID-19 clusters.

  • Attendance at cinemas to be capped at 100 people only.

  • Marriage solemnisation and wedding receptions to be capped at 250 attendees. This will be with zones of up to 50 attendees. Pre-event testing will also be required at wedding receptions, if there are more than 50 attendees.

  • No more than 30 people will be allowed at funerals. This includes the day of the burial or cremation. Other days of the wake will remain open to only 30 persons at a time.

  • Spectators will not be allowed at sports events.

  • Only up to 250 people will be allowed for MICE events and live performances. This is a big change from the previously allowed 750 persons. Attendees will also need to adhere to pre-event testing rule and the capacity should not exceed 100.

  • Operating capacities for museums, public libraries and attractions will be reduced from 65 percent to now 50 percent.

  • Down from 50 people, tours can now only accommodate a maximum of 20 people.

Even with these safety COVID-19 measures taking effect on 8 May, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong advised the public to start scaling back on their activities as much as possible from now on.

Latest COVID-19 Restrictions In Schools

safety measures at home and school
safety measures at home and school

Image source: iStock

In their press release on Tuesday (4 May), the Ministry of Education (MOE) also announced stricter safe management measures in schools.

These will apply to all MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, Special Education (SPED) schools, Junior Colleges, Millennia Institute, and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

The latest restrictions aim to reduce the intermingling of students across schools and minimise external activities. All the while ensuring that teaching and learning can continue. The safety measures included are:

  • Exam-style seating arrangements will be put in place in schools.

  • Reduced group size across activities from eight to five persons.

  • Overall capacity for activities including lectures cannot exceed 50 persons.

  • Other activities conducted in public spaces such as learning journeys will be suspended.

  • Students, visitors and staff will have to use their TraceTogether token or app to digitally check in to schools from 17 May. They will also need to have their token or app with them while inside.

  • MOE has also urged students and staff to adhere to screening measures and continue practising good personal hygiene.

  • Students and staff should not go to school or campuses if they feel unwell. They are advised to see a doctor immediately if so.

It was also noted that school-based activities such as co-curricular activities (CCA) and after-school care arrangements will continue. However, external CCAs will be suspended from Saturday (8 May) to 30 May.

“MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments in accordance with the national posture,” the ministry said in their press release.

Safety Measures At Pre-schools

safety measures at home and school
safety measures at home and school

Image source: iStock

Pre-schools and early intervention centres will also be tightening their visitor admissions for the safety of their students and staff.

Only those needed to support operations and perform necessary functions are permitted.

In another press release uploaded on Wednesday (5 May), the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) announced that all other parents will be restricted from entering the centre’s premises.

All visitors will still be subjected to follow safe management measures such as:

  • Wearing a mask

  • Temperature and health check-ups up to three times a day

  • More frequent hand washing

  • Regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces

Other new restrictions in pre-schools are as follows:

  • Parent-teacher conferences are advised to be conducted online instead. Virtual tours are also highly encouraged for parents of prospective students.

  • In order to reduce the risk of transmission across schools, it is required that pre-schools conduct supplementary enrichment programmes with no more than four pre-schools.

  • The movement of staff and children will also be required to tighten during this time. There will be no mixing of children across classes and they can only participate in activities within their own class while also in small groups.

  • In line with national guidelines, sessions will be conducted in groups of five.

  • While children under seven are not required to use TraceTogether, visitors and staff must still use their token or app to be allowed entry.

Parents are also encouraged to monitor their children’s health and follow safety measures at home and school. ECDA has advised parents to not their wards to pre-schools or centres if they feel unwell and should immediately seek medical attention instead.

News Source: CNA

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