WFH To Remain Default From 22 Nov
SINGAPORE – The city-state’s government announced that working from home (WFH) will continue to remain as the default work arrangement from Monday (22 November), according to reports from Bloomberg and The Business Times that were posted on Saturday (20 November, SGT).
During the Saturday briefing of Singapore’s Multi-Ministry Taskforce on COVID-19, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong announced that while it won’t relax workplace restrictions, it will ease some virus-related curbs from Monday.
These include permitting 5 persons from different households to sit together at restaurants as long as they are vaccinated, in addition to resuming in-person visits to residential care homes and hospitals. The latter will also be extended to those who are medically unqualified to be inoculated starting from 1 December.
However, the ministers warned people not to anticipate any more major relaxation of the curbs this year. “We are now transiting towards living with Covid-19 and I know many or some prefer to open up more quickly, but we must do so in a very careful and step-by-step manner,” explained Gan.
He said that the government has decided to hold back for now on easing workplace restrictions as well as capacity limits for attractions and shopping centres. Any moves allowing more staff to return to their office will only be made in a very “cautious approach” manner.
“If we are careful and we continue to comply with all the prevailing safe management measures, we should be able to cope with an increase in infections. Conversely, if we seek to push the limits, let our guard down, we will start a resurgence of cases which can very quickly overwhelm our hospital system yet again. We are trying very hard to avoid such a scenario.”
Meanwhile, Taskforce’s Co-chair Lawrence Wong revealed that the Singapore government will refrain from substantially relaxing COVID-related curbs further until 2022 due to fears that the year-end holidays may trigger a new wave of cases.
Under their “incremental approach”, the authorities could consider implementing their next round of moves around end-December, he explained. However, this depends on Singapore’s healthcare system remaining stable, particularly as more people interact and socialize during the upcoming festive season.