MCS135_Come back, Neighbour

In Phase 2, churches will be able to resume worship services of up to 50 people with stringent safe management measures, said MCCY. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

In Phase 2 of the nation’s reopening, religious services of up to 50 people will be able to resume with stringent safe measures in place, including the omission of singing, announced the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) today (June 19).

The safe management measures were outlined by MCCY as follows:

  • Keep a 1m distance from each other. If worshipping individually, worshippers must keep a 1m distance from each other. If worshipping with friends or family, each group should have no more than five persons and must keep a 1m distance from other groups.
  • Keep services as short as possible. Worshippers must leave immediately after service. There should be no reception or mingling between worshippers before, during or after the service.
  • Everyone must wear a face mask at all times. Those conducting the service (such as the preacher or worship leader) may wear a face shield. Children below 12 and those with health conditions that may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when wearing a mask may also wear a face shield.
  • No singing. Singing is considered a higher risk activity as it could potentially release a large amount of droplets. Live performances are also not allowed.
  • No sharing of common items. These include hymnals or offertory bags. Worshippers are to bring their own personal items where required.
  • Ventilate the space. Worship halls or sanctuaries should open doors and windows after use.

MCCY added that it hopes to gradually increase the congregation limit beyond 50 persons at a later time if community transmission remains low and stable, and if religious organisations are able to implement the safe management measures outlined by the ministry.

In the event that congregations are allowed to exceed 50 people, worshippers will need to be divided into clearly demarcated zones holding no more than 50 persons each, said MCCY, adding that it will provide further guidance on these regulations.

Online services still encouraged

Nevertheless, the ministry encouraged religious organisations to continue recording and broadcasting services online.

Up to 10 people will now be allowed on-location for these productions, of which half can temporarily remove their masks when speaking or singing.

However, those who are unmasked are strongly encouraged to maintain at least a 2m distance from others, said MCCY.

There also should be no cross-deployment between locations where practical, no socialisation during breaks and thorough cleaning of technical equipment, said the ministry.

Classes and meetings limited to group of five

Churches will also be able to resume non-congregational activities, such as classes and meetings, on its premises.

However, each group should be limited to five people, excluding the teacher.

Where necessary, there can be multiple groups of five in the same activity, as long as groups are 1m away from one another. As best practice, MCCY encouraged keeping a distance of 2m between groups in a class.

Before churches can resume activity, they must submit their Safe Management Plans (SMPs) for approval.

Churches may also continue to conduct marriage solemnizations, wakes and funerals with up to 20 people, excluding those conducting the activity. This is up from the previous cap of 10 people.

In all, only 50 people are allowed on the premises at a time for non-congregational activities. This is excluding congregational and worship services.

Activities must be held in separate locations within the church. There must be sufficient signs and directions to guide people so they do not interact or meet each other while entering, exiting or in the premise.

There must also be an established one-way flow for entry and exit points of all activities. The arrival of worshippers should be managed to avoid queues from forming.

MCCY encouraged religious organisations not to maximise the number of people allowed on the premises.

“We strongly urge religious organisations to consider reducing other concurrent activities when congregational and other worship services are ongoing, so that there is a smaller total number of people on the premises at any one time, which will help to minimise the risk of large clusters from forming.”

Before churches can resume these activities, they must submit their Safe Management Plans (SMPs) for approval at least three days in advance.

The detailed requirements and format for submissions can be found at www.cpro.gov.sg. For the full press release by MCCY, click here. Frequently asked questions are also available here.

 

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