Up to eight people may be allowed to gather in phase three
Up to eight people could be allowed to gather outside the home when Singapore moves into phase three of its reopening, the multi-ministry task force handling Covid-19 said yesterday.
Asked how the task force arrived at this figure, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong responded that safe distancing was a concern.
The task force had initially considered increasing the limit to 10 instead of eight, he said.
But in public places such as restaurants, having groups of 10 would make it more difficult for patrons to maintain a certain distance from one another, he added.
Moving from five to eight was therefore seen as a reasonable increase that was more manageable. "We also do not want to have sudden increase with a large number, and as a result, then we end up with big clusters of transmission."
During a press conference yesterday, the task force set out Singapore's road map to phase three, which could happen by the end of this year.
Apart from increasing the group size of social gatherings outside homes, households may also be able to welcome eight visitors instead of five.
"I would have liked to stay at five, but of course, I think five is quite stressful for quite a lot of people and especially families with a large number of members," Mr Gan said.
The number may be tweaked as time goes on, he said.
In phase three, capacity limits in venues such as museums, places of worship and wedding receptions may be increased, with multiple zones of 50 persons allowed.
But the nightlife industry, which is deemed as a higher-risk setting, will not restart even when phase three begins, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force.
"All in all, we've been at this for I think almost nine months now. I know it seems like a lifetime to some of us and many people are feeling tired and fatigued," he said. But he stressed that the fight is far from over, with countries all around the world experiencing spikes in the number of virus cases.