COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions in Singapore (May 2022)

woman wearing mask

COVID-19 regulations may be changing at a feverish pace, but we’re here to soothe your nerves.

This article will serve as a comprehensive one-stop resource for the current state of COVID-19 laws in Singapore. It is accurate as of 5 May 2022.

It also covers the vaccinated-differentiated safe management measures and Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Framework for travel abroad. You can count on us to update this article whenever the laws change.

This article will cover Singapore’s laws and regulations regarding:

Social Gatherings 

There is no group size limit on social gatherings and no restrictions on the number of household visitors.

Mask-Wearing

It is mandatory for all over the age of 6 to wear a mask over their nose and also cover their chin in indoor settings. On the other hand, it is optional to wear a mask in outdoor settings (though it is encouraged).

Examples of indoor settings include:

  • Office buildings
  • Shopping malls
  • Lifts
  • Public transport such as buses and trains
  • Hawker centres, coffee shops and wet markets
  • HDB retail shops and other shophouses
  • Classrooms
  • Libraries

Examples of outdoor settings include:

  • HDB void decks
  • HDB retail shop walkways and five-foot ways
  • Bus stops and naturally ventilated bus interchanges
  • Open unenclosed spaces such as parks, fields and nature trails
  • Open-air sheltered walkways and bridges

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has recommended that people wear face masks of at least 2-3 layers of fabric and at least 95% bacterial filtration efficiency. Face masks are coverings that cover the wearer’s nose and mouth, and can be medical or non-medical.

Examples of masks include cloth masks and surgical masks, but do not include the following:

  • Neck gaiters
  • Bandannas
  • Scarves
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Face shields

Only the following people may use a face shield in place of a mask:

  • Children below 12 years of age who may have difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time
  • People with health conditions that may result in medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time
  • Brides and grooms during the solemnisation of their marriage

Teachers are not allowed to wear a face shield in place of a mask.

First-time offenders who fail to comply with the above rules will be fined up to $10,000 and or jailed for up to 6 months if prosecuted in court.

Safe Distancing

Safe distancing is no longer required between individuals or groups.

Vaccination and Pre-Event Testing

Vaccination is offered free to all Singaporeans and long-term residents in Singapore.

Assuming a person has never contracted COVID-19 before, they are considered fully vaccinated when they have had 2 primary doses, and 1 booster dose (for a total of 3 doses), of any one of the following COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty
  • Moderna/Spikevax
  • Nuvaxovid, also known as Novavax (available from end of May 2022)
  • World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL) vaccines such as Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca

Persons who opt for the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine will need to get three doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac to complete their primary vaccination series. After which, they will need to get a booster vaccination within 270 days of receiving their third dose to remain fully vaccinated. After which, they will need to get a booster vaccination within 270 days of receiving their third dose to remain fully vaccinated.

Persons who are aged 80 or older, aged care residents or have certain chronic diseases are also recommended to get a second booster dose.

Persons aged 60 to 79 can also get a second booster dose if they want to, but this is currently not necessary.

Apart from being fully vaccinated, a person can also gain a cleared status if they have recovered fully from COVID-19 and had received their first positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result in the last 180 days.

What is Pre-Event Testing (PET)?

To begin with, there are 2 main types of COVID-19 tests:

  1. The Antigen Rapid Test (ART); and
  2. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

An ART takes around 15 minutes to produce results, whereas a PCR test takes up to 48 hours.

PET may be required for entry into certain premises or events. Most PETs require attendees to take an ART as it produces results much quicker.

From 1 January 2022, unvaccinated persons may not undergo PET as a means of obtaining a cleared status.

If the event you would like to attend does not provide PET but you would like to undergo PET on your own, you may do so at an MOH-approved test provider.

Vaccination-Differentiated Measures

The following places and events are subject to vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS):

  • Nightlife establishments where dancing is one of the intended activities
  • Food and beverage (F&B) establishments, including restaurants, coffee shops and hawker centres
  • Events with more than 500 participants at any one time

Generally, unvaccinated persons are subject to VDS, and are therefore prohibited from entering such places and events. The following persons are, however, exempted from VDS:

Dining 

You may dine-in if you are:

  • Fully vaccinated;
  • An unvaccinated child aged 12 years old and below; or
  • Medically ineligible and are certified as such.

There are no maximum group sizes for dining-in.

F&B establishments are allowed to play recorded music, live music and entertainment.

Nightlife

 75% capacity limit will apply for nightlife settings with more than 1,000 people. 

For venues where dancing is one of the intended activities, such as clubs, patrons must undergo a supervised ART by a test provider approved by the Ministry of Health, either in-person or remotely.

Work

All employees with a cleared status may return to their workplace at any one time. Employers are still strongly encouraged to continue implementing flexible work arrangements.

Social gatherings at the workplace are allowed.

Masks can be removed at the workplace when employees are not:

  • Interacting physically with others
  • In customer-facing areas

Employees who need to return to the workplace are strongly encouraged to self-test weekly via an ART. If an employee tests positive, he/she is not allowed to return to the workplace until they have obtained a negative result.

Please see MOM’s requirements on Safe Management measures at the workplace for more information.

Events and attractions

Religious services 

Religious services may take place without any capacity limits.

There is also no limit on the number of performers. VDS will be implemented for services involving more than 500 people.

Food and drinks can be served and self-service buffets are allowed (you are encouraged to use hand sanitisers and disposable gloves provided by the caterers).

For more information on the COVID-19 regulations on religious activities, please refer to the latest updates from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Marriages and weddings

Wedding receptions are allowed at home.

At the Registry of Marriages or Registry of Muslim Marriages, up to 20 attendees are allowed for solemnisations. Wedding receptions are not allowed.

For solemnisations and wedding receptions at home or at external venues, there are no limits on attendee numbers, venue capacity or group sizes. However, VDS must be implemented:

  • If there are more than 500 attendees; or. 
  • If the solemnisation or wedding reception is being held at an F&B establishment (even if there are up to 500 attendees or fewer)

The following mask regulations apply for weddings and marriage solemnisations:

  • The bride and groom may unmask throughout the solemnisation and reception as long as they:
    • Have undergone an ART minimally supervised by the venue operator; or
    • Have obtained a valid PET 24 hours before the event.
  • All other attendees must have their masks on throughout the solemnisation process. Masks may be removed momentarily for photo-taking, but must be worn immediately after the photos are taken

**Any capacity and group size limits on weddings and solemnisations discussed above do not include the solemniser and vendors.

For more details on COVID-19 regulations on weddings and solemnisations, please refer to this government webpage.

Alternatively, solemnisations may also be held virtually.

Funerals

There are no group size limits or capacity limits during funerals and visits to columbaria.

Food and drinks can be served at funerals. Self-service buffets are also allowed (you are encouraged to use hand sanitisers and disposable gloves provided by the caterers).

Sports and Fitness Activities

You may engage in indoor and outdoor sports activities in areas such as gyms, fitness studios and swimming pools, with no limits on group size or venue capacity. 

For indoor activities, you may remove your mask when performing strenuous activity or as part of a class requirement but will have to be put on after the completion of such activity/class and during rest breaks.

VDS will apply for sporting events with more than 500 people. 

Permitted Activities

The following activities and operations are currently permitted:

  • Singing in karaoke establishments
  • Tuition and enrichment classes
  • Home-based businesses
  • Personal care and appearance services that require masks to be removed (e.g. facials, saunas) for individuals with a cleared status
  • Lessons involving singing or the playing of instruments that involve the expulsion of air, such as wind and brass instruments, provided that all participants and unmasked instructors have a cleared status
  • The sale and consumption of alcohol at food and beverage outlets after 10.30 pm
  • Using barbeque pits in parks, HDB estates, condominiums and country clubs
  • Tour groups with no tour or group size limits

When Do You Need to Get Tested for COVID-19?

When attending certain events

You may need to undergo PET when attending events. Please see the section above on PET for more information.

If you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case

If a person who tested positive for COVID-19, and with whom you have been in close contact recently, has informed you of their positive test result, you should take ART over the next 5 days.

You may leave your house only if you test negative. No further tests are needed if you test negative on Day 5.

Entering Singapore from Abroad

Generally, if you are entering Singapore from abroad, you will need to take an ART or PCR test 2 days before departure if you are not fully vaccinated, or if you are aged 12 years old and below.

Under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (which has replaced the former Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme), all persons above 2 years old who are travelling to Singapore from the countries/regions under the following categories must comply with the following requirements:

Must I take an ART/PCR test within 2 days before departure? Must I take an On-Arrival test? Must I serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN)?
General travel category (All countries/regions) If you are fully vaccinated or are aged 12 years old and below: No, unless you are a Non-Malaysian Work Permit Holder (WPHs) holding an In-Principle Approval (IPA) in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) sectors. No No
If you are unvaccinated: Yes, you can take either a PCR test or an ART (administered by a trained professional or remotely).  No Yes, you must undergo a 7-day SHN at your accommodation of choice and take a PCR test to exit the SHN.
Restricted category (There are currently no countries in this category) Yes, you must take a PCR test.  Yes, you must take a PCR test. Yes, you must undergo a 7-day SHN at a dedicated facility.

For more updates on COVID-19 restrictions on travel to and from Singapore, please refer to the SafeTravel website. You may also use the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s Self-Help Tool to learn the entry requirements that apply to your specific situation.

It is imperative that we continue to work together to keep Singapore a safe and healthy community even during these tough times. The government will review the current measures and may adjust the regulations accordingly.

We will be updating this article as and when such new COVID-19 laws are put in place. In the meantime, we hope you stay positive and test negative.