Mask-Wearing To Be Optional Indoors & Outdoors, Except For Public Transport & Healthcare Settings

Mask-Wearing Requirements Will Be Eased Further, To Be Optional In Most Places Indoors

Mask-wearing, which is currently compulsory in all indoor settings, will be eased further in Singapore.

It will now be optional both indoors and outdoors, except in certain places.

These include healthcare settings and public transport.

Covid-19 situation stabilising

In his National Day Rally (NDR) 2022 speech, given at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) headquarters in Ang Mo Kio on Sunday (21 Aug), Mr Lee said the Covid-19 situation was stabilising.

Thus, mask requirements will be reduced to prevent fatigue from setting in.

Source: Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook

However, he added,

But don’t take your masks off this very moment. Please wait for the detailed announcement from the MTF (Multi-Ministry Task Force).

Mask-wearing optional indoors except certain places

While Singaporeans will be able to enjoy going mask-free in places like shopping malls, masks will still be required in certain places, i.e.:

  1. public transport like buses and MRT trains — as people are in prolonged close contact in a crowded space
  2. healthcare settings where vulnerable persons are present — like clinics, hospitals, and residential and nursing homes

Everywhere else, masks will be optional, whether indoors or outdoors, Mr Lee said.

Mask-wearing outdoors had already been optional in Singapore since 29 Mar.

Mask-wearing also optional in school

One of the places where they’ll be optional is school, the PM pointed out.

He felt that masks shouldn’t be needed in class as children need to be able to see the facial expressions of their teachers and one another.

Learning to read faces is “crucial for their learning and development”, he added.

Source: MOE on Facebook

He also assured worried parents that it’s safe.

Fewer than 1,600 Covid-19 deaths

Giving more updates on the Covid-19 situation, Mr Lee said Singapore has recorded fewer than 1,600 deaths so far.

However, “every death is one too many”, he added.

Comparing our mortality rate with other countries, though, he said we could easily have had 10,000 or more fatalities.

He attributed our success partly to the “high level of trust” between the people and the Government in our society, as well as the personal and social responsibility of people.

Latest wave is now subsiding

Though there might have been fresh concerns over the latest Omicron wave, it’s now subsiding, Mr Lee said.

Singapore is also learning to live with the virus, he added.

Pointing to other countries again, he noted that cases go up and down suddenly amid a Covid-19 wave.

However, it’s more gradual in Singapore, which suggests “we have been effective in slowing down disease transmission”, he concluded.

New COVID-19 Resilience Medal to be awarded

Mr Lee also lauded the people who went over and above their call of duty to help others during the pandemic, including frontliners like healthcare workers and public officers.

Some of them volunteered at vaccination centres and distributed meals to their neighbours, he said.

Thus, Singapore will give a new state award called the Covid-19 Resilience Medal to people who participated directly in fighting Covid-19 during the pandemic.

For exceptional contributions, existing state awards such as the Commendation Medal, the Public Service and the Public Administration Medal will be given out, and there will be an indication that it’s due to Covid-19.

The people who’ll get the awards will be announced at the end of this year, and the ceremonies will be held in 2023.

Watch NDR 2022 on the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) YouTube channel here. This is the part where Mr Lee speaks about masks:

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