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‘Just lockdown lah’: response to stricter dining in and social gathering safety measures

The Independent logo The Independent 14/5/2021 Hana O
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Singapore – Only two persons can meet in a social gathering, only two visitors are allowed at home each day, and there can be no dining at food and beverage (F&B) outlets from Friday (May 14) till June 13.

As before, one can attend only two social gatherings each day.

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19 announced this on Friday (May 14), ramping up restrictions to curb the spike in community cases in the past two weeks.

Hawker centres and eateries will offer only takeaway and delivery to reduce the risk of transmission, which is higher when customers dine near others without their masks, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Lockdown might have been a better option, responded netizens.

The restrictions are tighter than before.

Up to five people were allowed in social gatherings earlier and households could receive up to five visitors each day.

The restrictions mean very little opportunity to meet others.

MOH said: “Individuals should continue to limit their overall number of social gatherings to not more than two per day, whether to another household or meeting with friends and family members in a public place.”

However, grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents daily are not counted in the cap. Grandparents are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to protect themselves and their grandchildren from Covid-19 infection.

Work-from-home will be the default at workplaces.

Employers must ensure that employees who can work from home do so. Furthermore, there should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites.

Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace and implement flexible working hours, said MOH.

Among other restrictions:

  • There will be a lower cap of 50 people at any one time for congregational and other worship services. The cap can increase up to 100 attendees if pre-event testing is implemented.
  • Malls and showrooms will have a reduced occupancy limit from 10 sq m per person of gross floor area to 16 sq m per person.
  • Wedding receptions will not be allowed, excluding solemnisation for up to 100 people with pre-event testing implementation (50 people with no testing).
  • All attractions that were earlier permitted to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Museums and public libraries will also operate at a reduced capacity of 25 per cent.
  • Indoor and outdoor shows are allowed with a cap of 50 people (100 people with testing).
  • With pre-event testing, up to 100 people may be allowed into cinema halls (50 people with no testing). However, the cap of two people per group applies. Food and drinks cannot be sold or consumed in the cinema.

According to MOH, the emerging pattern of unlinked community cases is “worrying as it suggests that there may be unknown cases in the community with possible ongoing community transmission and that our earlier and ongoing measures to break the chains of transmissions may be insufficient”.

“We need to act decisively to contain these risks as any one leak could result in an uncontrolled resurgence of cases.”

In response to the news, members of the online community commented that a lockdown might have been a better option.

“Lockdown straight better. Getting more and more community cases each day,” said Facebook user Roslan Kadir.

Another said, “Just lock down lah…Is the task force aware that despite 50 per cent workforce… A lot of companies are ignoring it and still asking workers to go work… You are just increasing the exposure to those taking public transport.”

“Better go straight to short lockdown like two to three weeks to curb the spread rather than if spread worsens and need to lockdown for two to three months,” said Facebook user Adelyn Choo.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng also commented, noting that “dining-in is one of the riskiest activities for the spread of Covid-19.”

He noted it was the right move to restrict it. “We cannot close our borders. Just put in more restrictions,” he added./TISG

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