It has been more than half a year since entering the Circuit Breaker period (although it feels like forever) and we’ve been in Phase 2 for about four months. We see a glimmer of hope as it was announced yesterday about plans to go into Phase 3 at the end of the year. Here’s what we know so far.
Increased group size for gatherings
Gatherings outside the home could be increased from the current 5 to 8 persons. Similarly, the number of visitors allowed to homes would increase to 8.
Increasing venue capacity
Currently, public venues such as museums and attractions are already open with capacity limits while events such as wedding receptions can be held in two zones of 50 people. In Phase 3, these capacity limits could be increased to allow multiple zones of 50 persons, with additional measures for specific settings.
For example, wedding receptions are higher-risk activities, where people are gathered for a meal without their masks on and there will be a greater likelihood of social interactions. Any expansion in the number of attendees would therefore require additional safety measures, including having all guests go through a pre-event test.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), “Government agencies may also request video and photographic footage of the events, to facilitate checks and investigations against any breaches of the rules.”
Nightlife industry likely to stay closed
Bars, pubs, karaoke lounges and nightclubs pose a higher risk of transmission and are not expected to open even during Phase 3 although there might be a consideration to have a few limited venues open but subject to a more stringent set of measures, including pre-entry COVID-19 testing.
Nonetheless, MOH has stated that they will discuss these possibilities with the nightlife industry “but we have to be realistic that it will take a long time for the industry to fully re-open in its original form.”
Travel and re-opening of borders
Travel will be gradually allowed through the unilateral opening of borders and Air Travel Bubbles, where travellers from low-risk countries or regions can enter Singapore with a COVID-19 test without the need to serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN).
Travellers from higher-risk countries or regions will still be subjected to SHN at home or at dedicated facilities.
At the moment, Singaporean Citizens (SC), Permanent Residents(PR) or Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPH) who travel out of Singapore from 27 March 2020 onwards are responsible for their own inpatient medical bills, if they have the onset of symptoms for COVID-19 within 14 days of their return to Singapore, without access to government subsidies or insurance coverage (with exceptions to those who have permitted travel regimes such as students who are studying full-time overseas). During Phase 3, all SCs, PRs and LTPHs travelling overseas will be able to access government subsidies and insurance coverage for their medical bills.
https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/roadmap-to-phase-three, accessed on 21 Oct 2020