Singapore continues to recover from the recent spike in the number of Covid-19 cases. And this means that the social distancing measures continue to be in place for the safety of citizens. However, this has also been a big inconvenience to everyone with normal life thrown out of the window.
Sadly, the situation will remain the same till we get a stronghold on the virus and the number of infections on the island. Until then, the social distancing measures do remain a big bother for several citizens.
As dine-in options open across the city, the government has restricted the number of groups to two, which is a big problem for families.
Citing the same, a Reddit user voiced his opinion on these limitations that make it difficult to handle young kids.
Social Distancing Measures Doing More Harm Than Good? Asks Redditor
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In a post, the Reddit user with the name ‘vitaliksellsneo’ wrote, “Over the last few days, I have encountered a few instances of parents sitting at a separate table beside their kids as that was required by law. Throughout the meal, the parents had to bark orders at the kids to keep them under control (often it was just a mum and two kids.)
This does not make sense to me as that seems to increase chances of transmission if they were carriers, and the increased amount of seating required is penalising restaurants.
I understand that the govt doesn’t want to encourage other people thinking groups of more than 2 is OK, but in the clear instances of a family unit (maybe with kids 12 or less) exceptions can be made?”
While the user is not a parent, he did empathise with mums and dads who haven’t had it easy during the lockdown.
What Do The Netizens Think?
While troublesome, most netizens agree that the rules were meant to discourage people to go out.
One user wrote, “The purpose is to discourage families from eating out. No need to ban outright, but make it troublesome enough that people won’t bother.”
Agreeing to the same, another user wrote, “I agree. I understand that some business (especially F&B and Fashion) are struggling to get by so the Govt is trying to throw them a hand rather than just cancelling the reopening on June 21. But I think it’s important that this situation is being thoroughly examined by the Govt.”
One user also commented, “The rule doesn’t make any sense from a COVID point of view, but it’s there to make enforcement easy. Otherwise we’d have SDAs checking ICs and even more kpkb on Reddit.”
Other Redditors suggested continuing to have take-outs or deliveries instead of dine-in.
One user said, “We are sticking to takeout/delivery for now. Can’t put the kids on a table together because they are young and need guidance, but 1 parent and one kid feels like more of a chore than a nice dining experience. Hoping it won’t be long.”
Meanwhile, one user did see an opportunity in adversity. They wrote, “Eh don’t change this rule leh, kinda enjoying the excuse to leave the kid at home and just enjoy a peaceful dinner with my wife…”
Dining-In With Social Distancing Measures In Place
The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the resumption of food and beverage outlets for dining-in from June 21 onwards. However, citizens had to follow all social distancing measures while groups would be limited to only two people.
The group size of two will also apply to indoor fitness activities with masks off.
The ministry made the decision to unlock the island in parts as the number of unlinked cases started to decline. The government announced a two-step plan to move back to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) on June 10. Restrictions on dining-in eased from June 21 onwards.
Rise In Infections Since Re-Opening
Since the first step of re-opening, Singapore saw a jump in the number of infections. This prompted the ministry to limit the number of groups to two instead of five.
“Regrettably, we are unable to proceed with our second stage of reopening in light of the latest outbreaks and big cluster that we have discovered in Bukit Merah, and now we have to adjust our plans,” said co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force Lawrence Wong at a press conference last week.
As of June 23, 2021, Singapore reported 22 new Covid-19 cases in the community. The current number of active Covid-19 clusters on the island stands at 39.
What Do The Social Distancing Measures State?
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Groups of more than two people who are not from the same household will not be allowed to dine-in together.
This is applicable even if the group is split across multiple tables.
People from the same household though can sit at multiple tables and dine-in though. But they will have to clarify this beforehand.
Wedding receptions will also not be allowed until mid-July, the MOH clarified.
For folks looking to dine-in at a restaurant, this means a group of four from a family will have to sit on two tables,. A group of six from a single-family will be split into three tables.
Group Sizes May Go Up To Five By Mid-July
The government plans to ramp up Covid-19 rapid testing for employees in higher-risk setting such as F&B outlets. This will give Singapore a greater assurance to open further, the ministry said.
Authorities expect a regular rapid testing process to be in place by mid-July.
That’s when the government plans to increase group sizes for higher-risk activities.
Taskforce co-chair Gan Kim Yong said, “This is a more cautious approach to minimise the risk of spikes in cases and the formation of large clusters. But we are mindful that the F&B sector will continue to need help, and we will support them as we further roll back some of the safe distancing measures next Monday.”
What are your thoughts on this? Should families with kids be allowed to sit together?