SINGAPORE – Authorities announced that beginning October 3, all religious organisations will be allowed to congregate in places of worship with up to 100 people in attendance. This comes with the implementation of safe distancing requirements and other management measures.
The announcement came from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, co-chair of the government task force in charge of handling the Covid-19 crisis in the country, during a press conference held on Wednesday (Sept 23).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) shared that the decision was based on the low transmission rate of the virus within the community, as well as the government’s acknowledgement of the public’s yearning for religious activities.
According to the MOH, there were only 12 new cases of Covid-19 reported on Wednesday (Sept 23), with only one in the community.
Along with this, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) is considering doing a trial in order to see whether allowing 250 people in five zones of 50 people each per assembly service is advisable. The MCCY shared that they will be releasing more details on this at a later date.
Since August 7, the MCCY has been working closely with at least 12 religious organisations – including Hindu temples, churches, mosques, Buddhist temples, and gurdwaras – in order to test the allowed number of 100 attendees.
Minister Gan said that the results have shown that the proper safety distancing measures and restrictions put in place have been effective so far. But because Singapore and other countries have seen rises of Covid-19 patients due to religious gatherings, authorities need to be “very cautious in mitigating transmissions at these events.”
Religious congregations were allowed to carry on certain activities since June 26, where all participants were required to wear masks at all times, and there were no singing or live performances allowed. Before that, all religious activities take place virtually.
Meanwhile, along with the new restrictions, weddings will also be allowed with up to 100 attendees including the wedding couple, which is up from the former restriction of only 50 people. Wedding suppliers and other vendors are not part of the 100-person count. Receptions can be held in venues that serve food and drinks as well, said Mr Gan. -/TISG