Singapore is dropping its mask mandate — with some exceptions. In a major relief for our neighbours across the causeway, the Ministry of Health in Singapore has announced that wearing masks will no longer be necessary except in healthcare facilities and public transport from August 29.
The decision was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong at a press conference held by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force on August 24. More details can be found here.
Here are all the details about Singapore easing its rules on masks
Where wearing of masks continues
According to Wong’s statement, people will have to wear masks when they are at healthcare facilities such as hospitals, polyclinics, residential care homes and even ambulances. Masks must also be worn when in retail, eateries and common areas of the healthcare facilities.
Masks will remain compulsory on public transport systems, including buses, MRT and LRT. People will also have to wear masks when they are in boarding areas at bus interchanges and MRT platforms.
However, masks are not required at retail pharmacies within a mall. There is no need to wear masks in airports, retail areas of MRT, LRT and bus interchanges, as well as naturally ventilated areas in the interchanges.
Flights and ferries to and from destinations that don’t require onboard mask-wearing are also excluded. But masks are needed on all flights and ferries to and from destinations where wearing them is compulsory.
As for private transport, the government says that people have the option of wearing masks in private taxis and private buses. Wong, who is the co-chair of the task force, said that taxi drivers can request a passenger to wear masks “but there is no law to require.”
“This is not enforceable, there is no basis of law for the taxi driver to say you have to. It’s optional,” he said.
Calling the decision a “significant milestone,” Wong said that Singapore must still “be mentally prepared for any sudden change because we don’t know how this virus will mutate and what the next variant will look like.”
Quarantine dropped for non-fully vaccinated visitors
Apart from easing mask-wearing restrictions, Singapore will also start allowing non-fully vaccinated travellers to skip the seven-day quarantine starting August 29. Such travellers will, however, have to test negative for COVID-19 two days before they arrive in the city-state.
Fully vaccinated travellers are neither required to take COVID-19 tests nor undergo quarantine.
The Ministry of Health also said that both long-term and short-term non-vaccinated arrivals above 13 years of age won’t be required to apply for entry approval starting August 29.
(Main and Featured images: Victor He/@victorhwn725/Unsplash)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore