July 15, 2024


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COVID-19: What the law says about having to wear a mask when outside your home

Everyone needs to wear a mask when they leave their place of residence, with very few exceptions.

People wearing mask at Orchard Road Singapore Feb 3 (49)

A woman wearing a mask is seen walking at Orchard Road, Singapore on Feb 3. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Anyone caught not wearing a mask when they leave their residence from Wednesday (Apr 15) faces a fine of S$300 for the first offence and S$1,000 if they do it again.

On Tuesday, the multi-ministry task force tackling the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore announced it will now be mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when they leave their residence.

The new regulation was added to the Government Gazette at 4am on Wednesday (Apr 15) as part of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

According to the notice by the Ministry of Health (MOH), there are only a few scenarios where members of the public do not have to use a mask.

All individuals aged two and above must wear a mask over their nose and mouth when they leave their residence, the notice reads. Anyone escorting children will be responsible for ensuring the child wears a mask, if they are two years old and older.

A person engaging in strenuous exercise, such as running or jogging, can remove their mask temporarily but must put it back once the activity is over. Walking is not considered a strenuous activity.

Anyone travelling in a car or van alone does not have to wear a mask. If the driver and passengers live in the same household, they do not have to use a mask when in they are in the vehicle.

According to the law, people who are “carrying out, in the course of employment, an activity that requires that no mask may be worn, or that it must be removed in order that other equiment may be used or worn” do not have to wear a mask when outdoors, such as if they are diving or welding.

Individuals who are “legally directed” to remove their mask for identification purposes can also do so, said the notice.

READ: Singapore’s COVID-19 cases exceed 3,000 with 334 new infections; situation remains ‘critical’


Children below the age of two will not need to wear a mask based on medical experts’ recommendations on child safety, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the the task force with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, noted that the Government had updated its advisory on masks based on the “latest medical and scientific advice”, and that the exercise to distribute reusable masks to Singapore residents was completed over the weekend. 

“Please do not use this mask-wearing requirement now to say ‘ok, I can go out’,” he added.

“You should not go out as much as possible. Just stay at home. Do all the right things – practice good hand hygiene and stay at home as much as possible.” 

“But in the rare occasion that you do need to go out for purchase of your groceries or purchase of essentials, then it’s only at that time that you wear a mask.”

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