When Singapore transitioned to Phase 2 on 19 Jun, retail stores could open and dine-in was allowed at F&B establishments, although at a cap of 5 per table.
With news that Phase 3 may be dawning on us soon, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament today (5 Oct) that authorities are assessing the easing of the 5-people rule for social activities, according to The Straits Times.
Responding to several MPs’ questions in Parliament on Monday (5 Oct), Minister Gan understood increasing the 5-person rule would allow social gatherings of larger size to commence.
Although the limit of other areas such as workplaces and weddings have been eased, he said dining is a whole other ballgame as it involves the removal of masks to eat and talk.
On Sunday (4 Oct), a spokesperson from the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment explained the high risk of transmission when it comes to dining.
Firstly, people are sitting in enclosed spaces. Secondly, they take off masks for a period of time to allow consumption of food.
With no masks on, especially during post-meal conversations, this allows easy spread of droplets from one person to another, said the spokesperson.
Minister Gan assured that they’re weighing the concern against measures on how dining should be managed during Phase 3.
To this, he stressed that cooperation and vigilance among the community are instrumental, as travel and activities restrictions have been loosened.
He said that it is critical for everyone to play our part in exercising social responsibility, and follow management measures.
This, he added, keeps family and friends safe, according to The Straits Times.
Minister Gan attributed the low number of community cases that Singapore has been reporting to “collective hard work and sacrifices” and not by chance.
For the opening of Phase 3, he painted the balance the government needs to observe between the prevention of a second wave of infections, and the unsustainability of long periods of tight restrictions.
Which is why, Singapore is still carefully considering their plans for Phase 3, and how to reopen society and economy safely, reports Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat confirmed in Parliament that details on Phase 3 will be announced in the coming weeks.
According to The Straits Times, the roadmap would entail:
DPM also assured that Singapore is working “very actively” to ensure that they have early access to effective vaccines once they are available.
This is indeed music to our ears as we have dearly missed large gatherings among family, friends, and even colleagues. It is hard to accommodate just 5.
We hope more easing of restrictions would be allowed soon, but this can only happen if full community cooperation is given.
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Featured image adapted from SugarWifi.
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