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Phase 3 roadmap in the works, Government to announce plans in 'few weeks' time'

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Phase 3 of reopening will see the Singapore economy and society open up even more.


The Singapore Government is already working on a roadmap towards Phase 3 and plans to share it in a "few weeks' time", said Minister Lawerence Wong on Wednesday (Sep 23). 

Minister Wong, who leads the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19, shared at a virtual press conference that the plans will be announced when the taskforce is ready. The plans will likely include further relaxations and opening up of activities, such as travel with countries that are safe. 

"If all goes well - if we can continue to maintain this level of compliance and we can continue to control the infection well – then we will be able to continue with this path of resuming and opening up our economy and society steadily," he said. 

"Within the community, we will look at a range of other measures, including rules of dining, number of people. The current rule is five, [but] we might allow for a higher number. [The same goes] for visitation."

The Minister added that more people may be allowed to attend various events such as weddings. 

"But we really need everyone to cooperate and to do their part so that together, we can have safe and progressive resumption of activities in Singapore," said the Minister. 

The announcement comes after Singapore saw a dwindling number of cases in the past week. On Wednesday, authorities reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, of which one was from the community - the first in three days. 

COVID-19-taskforce-press-conference
Phase 3 will see more rules relaxed, said Minister Wong.
PHOTO CREDIT: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION 

More allowed into cinema halls 

The Government also announced that from next month, large cinema halls with more than 300 seats will be allowed to accommodate up to 150 people, up from the current limits of 50. 

Smaller cinema halls will be allowed to accommodate up to 50 per cent of their original operating capacity, or maintain the current limit of up to 50 people in each hall. 

More workers allowed to return to offices 

Authorities are also allowing more people to go back to their workplaces from Sep 28. 

However, among employees who are able to work from home, no more than half of all employees should be working in the office at any point in time. They should also continue to work from home for at least half pf their working time. 

"Working from home should remain the default or preferred mode of working," said Minister Wong. 

Authorities are also encouraging employers to stagger employees' reporting times and implement flexible work arrangements to avoid travel during the peak hours. More events are also allowed to resume within the workplace. 

These events include conferences, seminars, promotion ceremonies, induction ceremonies for new staff, corporate retreats or meetings. 

"Anything that is work-related can resume, subject to prevailing safe management measures at the workplace. But large-scale social gatherings should not be organised either within the workplace or outside – that is the existing guideline, and it remains the same.

"No large-scale social gatherings – for example, celebrations, parties, team-bonding events, dinner and dance or gala dinners – these should not resume at this present time. The only things that would resume are work-related events," Minister Wong added. 

More people allowed to attend wedding receptions, worship services 

The multi-ministry taskforce added that up to 100 people will be allowed to attend worship services and wedding receptions from Oct 3, up from the current limit of 50. 

Those at a wedding will need to be split into multiple zones of up to 50 people each, or split by staggered timings with up to 50 people in each slot. For staggered timings, there will need to be at least 30 minutes between slots to clean and disinfect the event space. 

"We have taken a cautious approach to events like weddings. Some couples have put off their wedding plans in the hope that they can ride out the pandemic and proceed with their original plans for a large wedding reception like what we used to do before the COVID-19 pandemic," said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. 

"But the end of the pandemic is still some way off, and indefinitely postponing a wedding may not be practical or desirable."

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: JULIEN DE SALABERRY VIA UNSPLASH



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