SINGAPORE, June 18 — Dining in at eateries will be allowed to resume with a maximum group size of two persons from next Monday (June 21) — instead of up to five as announced previously — owing to the “persistence” of undetected Covid-19 cases in the community.
The Government’s Covid-19 task force said today that dining in would be allowed for groups of up to five from mid-July “barring another superspreader event or big cluster”, but the date will be announced later.
The cap for other social gatherings will remain at five, while those taking part in indoor mask-off sports or exercise activities such as at gyms must observe a two-person cap.
The task force announced last week that dining in would resume for groups of up to five next Monday if the pandemic stays under control, but it had to relook the rules since because of undetected community transmission.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, had cautioned earlier this week that the authorities were evaluating the “timing and scope” of the next stage of Singapore’s reopening, given a major new cluster in Bukit Merah.
Yesterday, 17 new Covid-19 cases were linked to a cluster at 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre, bringing the total for that cluster to 56 cases.
The task force said on Friday that groups of more than two persons who are not from the same household will be barred from dining in at food-and-beverage (F&B) establishments, even if they are split across tables.
Wong said that groups of more than two from the same household may sit across multiple tables, “but they have to make very clear that they are from the same household”.
Recorded music will also not be allowed at eateries, to mitigate the risk of transmission as patrons may otherwise have to talk loudly.
This is in addition to existing restrictions on videos or television screening and live entertainment at F&B establishments.
F&B establishments must also maintain a distance of at least 1m between groups of diners and ensure that there are no more than two persons per group.
The Ministry of Health said: “Enforcement will be stepped up and we will take firmer enforcement action for any breaches of safe-management measures.
“Patrons must keep their masks on at all times, except when eating or drinking.”
In light of the continued restrictions for businesses such as gyms and F&B outlets, enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme for affected sectors — which provides up to 50 per cent wage support — will be extended by three weeks from June 21.
The support will taper to 10 per cent for another two weeks from July 12.
To support hawkers who are self-employed, the Government will extend subsidies for fees for table cleaning and centralised dishwashing services.
There will also be rental waivers until mid-July for stallholders in hawker centres run by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators.
For workers who remain affected by the measures, the Government will extend the Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) until July 31. The grant provides one-off financial support for lower- to middle-income workers.
Existing grant recipients who continue to require help may also apply for a second tranche of support next month. — TODAY