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Mask wearing a must, even as measures are eased

This article is more than 12 months old

Even as Covid-19 restrictions are slowly eased and Singapore moves towards phase three of its reopening, one rule will remain mandatory: mask wearing.

Anyone leaving their homes must wear a mask, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said yesterday.

She also added that people should put on their masks at all times and put them back on immediately after activities such as eating, drinking or doing strenuous exercise.

"You should also keep your mask on when seated before you start consuming your food or drink or before you begin your workout," she added in her reply in Parliament to Ms Cheryl Chan (East Coast GRC) who noted some grey areas in the enforcement of mask wearing.

A person is fined $300 when caught without a mask on for the first time. Repeat offenders will face stiffer fines or prosecution.

"Mask wearing will remain an important measure for public health, to protect ourselves and those we come into contact with," Ms Fu stressed.

She cited a recent study by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, which found small particles from a person's cough could travel more than 1m in eight seconds if no mask is worn.

Wearing a mask reduces the droplets and aerosols ejected from a person's nose and mouth, she said, and this helps curb the spread of the virus.

She further said that safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers are regularly updated on safe distancing measures, including how to engage with operators of premises and members of the public.

"Even though caseloads are currently low, we must not let our guard down.

"We will need to stay nimble and calibrate our measures appropriately," said Ms Fu.

Ms Chan asked what more can be done to aid safe distancing ambassadors, as she foresees more grey areas emerging such as when the number of people who can dine together is increased.

Ms Fu noted that the ambassadors "are not everywhere at all times" to ensure rules are followed, so a lot depends on the customers themselves. The ambassadors are there to give reminders, and often patrons will heed them and put their masks back on, she said.

"If not, then in some cases, after repeated reminders, we may have to enforce. Hopefully, such circumstances will reduce over time."