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Singapore employers advised to implement social distancing in workplaces

Singapore's Ministry of Health has issued an advisory urging employers to?put in place measures to reduce close contact between employees, where feasible, in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ministry has listed the following measures as part of its advisory for workplaces:

  • Employers should implement tele-commuting and video-conferencing, where possible
  • They have also been advised to stagger work hours
  • Employers are advised to allow employees to commute at off-peak hours
  • Seating in meeting rooms and work stations could also be spaced apart.

This is part of additional?precautionary measures the country is implementing, to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, following the World Health Organisation's declaration of a global pandemic on 11 March 2020.

The advisory also listed several other measures that are to be implemented as temporary measures to "brake" the transmission of the virus, as affirmed by PM Lee Hsien Loong in his speech on 12 March.

Events/gatherings with 250 or more participants to be deferred or cancelled

All ticketed cultural, sports and entertainment events, with 250 participants or more, are to be deferred or cancelled, per the Ministry.

For events that have already been committed (e.g. tickets sold), organisers must demonstrate that satisfactory precautionary measures have been put in place before they can proceed.

For all other mass gatherings including private functions and religious services, organisers are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Reduce the scale of events to below 250 participants where possible;
  • Reduce the crowding of participants and improve ventilation. For example, participants could be seated at least a metre apart from one another, and be advised to reduce contact with others (e.g. avoid shaking hands);
  • Put in place temperature and health screening measures, as well as turn away persons who are unwell; and
  • Implement measures to facilitate contact tracing if needed, such as obtaining contact details of participants.

The Ministry also advises participants of such events to practise social responsibility, by monitoring their own health condition and avoiding any gatherings and events if unwell.

Public venues should space out seating, limit visitor numbers, and more

In order to?reduce close contact by patrons or customers as much as possible, owners and tenants of public venues should also take a set of precautionary measures.

Dining venues, for instance, should consider setting their seatings at least a metre apart; while entertainment venues and tourist attractions (e.g. casinos, cinemas, theme parks, museums, and galleries) could limit the number of visitors at any one time, and/or increase spacing among visitors.

Sports centres with indoor facilities (e.g. gyms, private academies) could consider limiting the number of patrons, introducing physical separation measures, increasing the frequency of cleaning, as well as issuing advisories to reduce unnecessary contact, and practise public hygiene.

The MOH has stated that the above advisories will be subject to further review based on the global situation.

Apart from the above, the MOH has also introduced additional travel advisories and precautionary measures to reduce the number of imported cases.

Photo / 123RF

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