SINGAPORE: Foreign domestic workers (FDWs) should avoid congregating in large groups on their rest days as Singapore moves into Phase 2 of its reopening, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday (Jun 17).
Previously, such workers had been advised by the ministry to stay at home during their rest days in the first phase of Singapore’s post-“circuit breaker” reopening.
In its advisory to employers on Wednesday, MOM outlined “appropriate arrangements” for foreign domestic workers during the next phase of reopening, adding that the advisory would “remain in force until withdrawn”.
These arrangements include seeking the consent of employers for taking rest days on a weekday, maintaining safe distancing measures and downloading the TraceTogether app.
“FDWs who wish to spend their rest days outside should seek the consent of their employers to do so on a weekday when public spaces are less crowded,” said MOM.
They should also inform their employers of their whereabouts, said the ministry, adding that workers are also strongly encouraged to download and activate the TraceTogether app to facilitate contact tracing.
While out on their rest day, foreign domestic workers are also advised to continue adhering to safe distancing measures, said MOM. These include:
Wearing a mask and maintaining a safe distance from one another
Observing good personal hygiene and avoiding sharing food, drinks and other personal items
Reducing their time spent outside and limiting the number of contacts that they meet
Complying with safe distancing measures at malls and public places and not gathering in groups of more than five
The ministry also advised workers not to “gather or loiter in public spaces” or visit crowded places such as City Plaza, Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza.
For those who want to remit money at these places, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has already advised remittance agents that they should schedule appointments with clients, said the ministry.
Alternatively, foreign domestic workers are encouraged to conduct remittance via electronic platforms.
MOM said it would be carrying out inspections on the ground, and would disperse large groups and outdoor gatherings.
Those who do not cooperate risk being fined and having their work passes revoked.
“As we all adapt to the new normal, it is important to maintain open communication with your FDW and help your FDW understand the above guidelines and requirements,” said MOM.
“Our community needs to stay disciplined and vigilant … so that all our efforts so far to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not wasted.”
On Monday, the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force announced Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening, after the country exited a two-month-long circuit breaker designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Phase 2 will involve the resumption of “most activities”, subject to safe distancing principles.
Small gatherings of up to five people will be allowed to resume, along with dining in at food and beverage outlets. Retail businesses may also reopen their physical outlets.
By Phase 3, social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events should be able to resume, although gathering sizes will still have to be limited in order to prevent large clusters.