S’pore on track to increase group sizes for dining-in from mid-July, says Minister Lawrence Wong

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday (24 June) that Singapore will be able to raise the group limit for dining in at eateries from two to five persons from mid-July, given that the country’s COVID-19 vaccinations are on track.

Dining-in at food and beverage outlets had not been allowed since May following a spike in the COVID-19 community cases.

Subsequently, the MOH announced that dining in and indoor mask-off sports are allowed to resume in group sizes of up to two persons, starting from 21 June onwards.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Wong, co-chairs of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce (MTF), noted that the MTF is planning to make “several immediate moves” over the next few weeks.

“First, is the next stage of our reopening, specifically to move from two persons to five persons for higher risk settings like F&B dining-in. We had said earlier that we plan to do this sometime around mid-July.

“With the vaccine on track, with the regular testing of workers in these higher-risk settings proceeding, we should be able to get there,” he said, adding that the MTF “will work out the dates” to implement this.

Mr Wong also noted that the public health guidelines for vaccinated persons will be revised, which would apply in two aspects.

The first aspect involves public gatherings specifically for those who have been vaccinated.

“We could allow gatherings involving just vaccinated persons to have larger group sizes and also relax the social distancing rules in such settings because only vaccinated persons are involved,” said the Minister.

He noted that this could also apply to different settings, including religious services, concerts, sporting events, and others.

On the second aspect, Mr Wong said that the MTF is working on new guidelines for vaccinated persons to be able to travel abroad.

“And then when you come back, you either can serve a shortened SHN (Stay-Home Notice), a quarantine time under the Stay-Home Notice would be shorter, or may be waived entirely and replaced with some tests, and this will depend on the country that you visit,” he explained.

The MTF has earlier announced that it aims to have at least two-thirds of Singapore’s population fully vaccinated “around National Day”. The task force noted that it is working to bring forward the delivery of vaccines and to speed up the process.

Netizens think the Govt seems “rush” to ease restrictions, despite emergence of Delta Plus variant in some countries

Penning their thoughts under the comment section of The Straits Times’ and Channel News Asia’s Facebook posts, a handful of netizens opined that the Government seems “rush” to ease restrictions, given that dining-in at eateries in group sizes of two persons has just been resumed this week.

Some netizens brought up about the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in India last year, imploring the Government not to reopen the borders to high-risk countries.

Delta Plus is now found in other countries including the United States, Britain, Japan, Portugal and Nepal.

One netizen wrote: “So fast jump into conclusion to open up? We just opened up 2 dine-in on Monday n we should c the daily cases in 2 wks time how it goes not? btw, Alpha n Delta variants r very tricky…”

Meanwhile, some netizens pointed out that the Government should also consider those who are unable to get vaccines, such as children and people with underlying medical conditions, as the new guidelines seem to only prioritise vaccinated persons.

 

 

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