The Ministry of Health (MOH) had released a press statement yesterday (23 September), announcing that more activities will be allowed to resume “safely”, including essential travels, returning to the workplace, worship services, wedding events and public places.
It was revealed that the Multi-Ministry Taskforce was piloting a new business travel pass for senior executives in Singapore with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes.
“Travellers on this pass will be required to abide by a strict controlled itinerary when they travel overseas for work. Upon return, the traveller will be given the option of doing a COVID-19 test in lieu of Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and self-isolate until the COVID-19 test results are out.”
Moreover, the number of passes will be strictly limited in the “initial phase”, and the Taskforce will consider expanding if the pilot is successful and if public health measure are fully-abided by.
More employees allowed to return to the workplace
As working from home would remain as the default, more employees will be allowed to return to their workplaces.
Employers are required to minimise crowding and possible congregation in common spaces, including public transport.
Besides, the employers are required to ensure that employees could continue to work from home for at least half of their working time, and that “no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time”.
To achieve that, the employers are advised to implement flexible working hours and further stagger the reporting times.
Work-related events within the workplace such as conferences, seminars and Annual General Meetings will be allowed to resume for up to 50 people. Safe Management Measures (SMM) are necessary to ensure a safe working environment.
However, parties, celebrations, team bonding activities, dinner-and-dance and gala dinner within or outside the workplace are not allowed.
Non-compliance with SMMs may result in penalties like a suspension of on-site operations, fines, and withholding of payouts for government support schemes and grants. The statement also mentioned that “more severe” violations of the SMMs may result in prosecution.
The Taskforce added that the tripartite partners like the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) will continue to review the requirements “periodically” to take further developments into account, such as updated medical advice, technological updates and operational practices.