Worshippers at Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church.

Worshippers at Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church.

UPDATE AS OF FEB 24: The multi-ministry task force has announced that it will consolidate and streamline the new safe management measures at one go instead of in two phases  (February 25 and March 4) as earlier announced, given the current surge in daily cases and the work needed for different settings to adhere to the new rules.

The revised effective date will be revealed shortly and current rules will apply until then.

However, from February 18, those involved in conducting religious classes for children aged 12 and below are no longer required to undergo Fast and Easy Testing (FET), which has been in place since October 2021.


From next Friday (March 4), worshippers at church services in Singapore will no longer need to be segregated in zones, and safe distancing will not be mandated, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) announced today (February 23).

The size limits on services involving more than 1,000 congregants will also be lifted at venues that can accommodate twice that number of participants, added MCCY.

This is in line with the simplified Covid-19 measures announced by the Multi-Ministry Task Force on February 16 as the nation transitions into a post-pandemic phase. 

Congregational singing, however, remains disallowed under the new measures.

KEY CHANGES

1. Service size: Depending on venue capacity, more than 1,000 worshippers may be allowed

From March 4, worship services or other religious activities can now involve more than 1,000 participants, provided that the number of worshippers does not exceed 50% of the venue’s capacity.

“For example, a worship service with 1,200 worshippers will need to be held at a venue that can accommodate at least 2,400 worshippers. Otherwise, the worship service would have to be capped at 1,000 worshippers,” said MCCY.

However, all participants must be fully vaccinated, as religious organisations must continue to implement vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) for all services, said MCCY. All participants above 6 years old must be masked at all times, though young children are encouraged to use a mask.

SafeEntry, using the TraceTogether App or Token, will continue to be required for check-in. Churches will not need to maintain a list of attendees for contact-tracing, as TraceTogether fulfils that function, MCCY confirmed.

2. Zones or safe distancing no longer mandated

From March 4, current requirements for worshippers to be segregated in zones of 100 will be lifted. 

Worshippers can sit without safe distancing between each other, and without the need to be arranged in groups of 5. However, safe distancing is still encouraged where possible.

MCCY has advised religious organisations to avoid chokepoints and to spread crowds out as evenly as possible to avoid overcrowding. 

3. On-stage performers: No need for 1m distance if masked; distance to congregation now 1 metre

From February 25, if all performers in a group are masked, they no longer need to maintain a safe distance from other groups such as worshippers or religious workers.

However, if there are any unmasked performers in the group, they must be in groups of five and must continue to keep a 1m distance from other groups.

In line with existing measures, up to 50 persons will be allowed to be involved in the conduct of the worship service, and up to 20 persons involved in conducting the service may be unmasked at any one time to sing or play wind or brass instruments. They must have a negative ART test result taken within 24 hours before the end of the live performance.

There must be at least a 1 metre setback between those performing on stage and worshippers.

As before, worshippers are not allowed to sing, even with masks on.

4. Religious classes: Up to 1,000 allowed, without VDS

From March 4, mask-on religious rites, activities and classes that are not part of a worship service can involved up to 1,000 people, subject to prevailing safety and room capacity requirements. MCCY confirmed that such classes will not be subjected to Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures, or VDS.

5. Children’s classes: No FET required for volunteers

From February 18, those involved in conducting religious classes for children aged 12 and below are no longer required to undergo Fast and Easy Testing (FET), which has been in place since October 2021.

6. Marriage solemnisations: Capacity limits the same as worship services, with VDS

From March 4, marriage solemnisations will have similar capacity as worship services, and thus can  involve more than 1,000 participants, provided that the number of worshippers does not exceed 50% of the venue’s capacity. Such events are VDS events, requiring all participants to be vaccinated.

7. Funerals held in churches: Capacity limits the same as worship services, without VDS

From March 4, “funerals in places of worship will be allowed without VDS, with similar capacity conditions as worship services”, said MCCY. This means that funerals held in worship services can involve more than 1,000 participants, provided that the number of worshippers does not exceed 50% of the venue’s capacity. 

No receptions with food or drinks are allowed. Non-wind live instrumental music is allowed, but other performances – singing, dancing, variety acts – are not.

Visits to columbaria at places of worship for up to 5 persons will continue to be allowed without VDS.


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About the author

Gracia Lee

Gracia is a journalism graduate who thoroughly enjoys people and words. Thankfully, she gets a satisfying dose of both as a writer at Salt&Light. When she's not working, you will probably find her admiring nature or playing Monopoly Deal with her little brother.

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