In this latest update, social gatherings at the workplace for up to five persons as well as cross-deployment of employees across workplaces will be allowed. Further, eligible EP holders will not need prior approval before entering Singapore.
On Wednesday (16 February 2022), Singapore's COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced key steps the country will be taking to "further simplify" its safety management measures in dealing with the Omicron variant of the pandemic, "so that everyone can understand the rules, focus on the measures that matter, and do our part in making sure our measures remain effective".
Employers, and businesses can take note of the following simplification:
- Mandatory rostered routine testing (RRT) for specific sectors only;
- Safety management measures at the workplace, as well as for events, and
- Entry approval requirements for certain eligible long-term pass holders (LTPH).
Find everything you need to know about these measures in detail below,
Rostered routine testing regime
Starting 18 February 2022 (Friday), the RRT regime will focus only on settings catering to:
- Vulnerable groups (i.e. healthcare sector, and eldercare sector);
- Children below five years old (which includes staff as well as third-party vendors in preschools, early intervention centres, and private education institutions with children less than 5 years old), and
- Selected essential services sectors.
For employers who are unsure if they are classified under point #3, they will be informed by their respective sector lead agencies via sector-specific communication channels at a later date. Otherwise, employers may choose to continue using the existing Swab Registration System (SRS) to upload their RRT test results.
"They may also onboard businesses onto 'Sync', a new platform launched this week by Open Government Products that enables individuals to easily declare their self-swab results, and provide consent for sharing ART and PCR test results and vaccination statuses with organisations and employers," the Taskforce explained.
Other categories of employees who will no longer be required to maintain the RRT regime are:
- Border frontline workers;
- COVID-19 frontline workers;
- Dorm-dwelling workers;
- Construction, marine & process workers;
- Dine-in F&B establishment workers;
- Personal care services workers;
- Workers in gyms and fitness studios;
- Retail mall, and supermarket workers;
- Last-mile delivery workers (including parcel and food delivery personnel);
- Public, and private transport workers, and
- Essential services workers.
Even with this focused approach, the Taskforce urged individuals to continue to exercise personal responsibility, and conduct regular self-testing, especially prior to visiting crowded places, or interacting with vulnerable groups during this Omicron period.
"Companies that have remaining kits that were already distributed to them for RRT are strongly encouraged to continue testing until the test kits are fully utilised," MTF added.
Safety management measures
- Workplace requirements
At the moment, the rule of allowing up to 50% of employees who can work from home to return to the office will be maintained, according to the Taskforce.
However, from 18 February 2022 (Friday), employees who have their masks on will not need to maintain one metre safe-distancing in the workplace. Further, social gatherings at workplaces will be allowed to resume with up to five persons for each social gathering.
Employers can note that there will also be no restrictions on cross-deployment of employees across workplaces, although they may continue to avoid cross-deployment so for their own business continuity reasons.
- Event requirements
From 4 March 2022 (Friday), specific size limits for events held outside the home such as religious services, business events, media conferences, funerary memorial events, wedding receptions, and mask-on classes will be lifted, as well as zoning requirements will be removed. Limits will now be managed based on the capacity of the venue.
This would mean that attractions, cruises, MICE, and large work-related events, as well as large performing arts venues or sports stadiums will subject to 50% capacity limit, and will require mask-on, should it involve more than 1,000 pax. For those that are smaller events (i.e. involving less than or equal to 1,000 pax), they can proceed without being subject to any capacity limit.
For any mask-off events, however, organisers and attendees would be required to comply with the one-metre safe distancing requirement, and prevailing group size of not more than five pax.
For clarity, organisers can take note of the following scenario for event planning:
For a 1,200-pax event, the event would need to be held at a venue that accommodates 2,400 pax, or the event size would have to be capped at 1,000 pax. Events where one-metre safe distancing and group size limits apply, will not be subject to the 50% capacity limit, as the SMMs already ensure spreading out of attendees.
Eligible long-term pass holders (LTPH): No more prior entry approval
With effect from 21 February 2022 (Monday), 2359 hours, entry approval requirements into Singapore will be removed for all fully-vaccinated LTPHs. This will apply to all eligible LTPHs in the following categories:
- Long-term visit pass,
- Immigration exemption order,
- Student’s pass,
- Employment pass,
- Personalised employment pass,
- Tech pass,
- Training employment pass,
- Work holiday pass,
- Dependant’s pass, and
- S pass holders.
With this ruling, all fully-vaccinated LTPHs entering Singapore via VTL need not apply for, or present vaccinated travel pass (VTP). Similarly, those entering via non-VTL will only need to show long-term pass/in-principle approval letter; proof of vaccination status to transport operators, and checkpoint staff, and not need to apply for, or present entry approval.
These updated rules, however, do not apply to the following categories of incoming workers:
- Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the CMP sector, or dormitory-bound work permit holders: They are not allowed to apply for entry via VTL. For non-VTL routes, they are to continue to apply for and present entry approval.
- All other work permit holders (including migrant domestic workers and confinement nannies): For VTL routes, they are to continue to apply and present VTP. For non-VTL routes, they are to continue to apply for and present entry approval.
This, MOM noted, is to ensure work permit holders enter Singapore in a safe and calibrated manner given their larger numbers.
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