Children Under 6 Years Old No Longer Legally Required To Wear Face Masks

Children Under 6 Years Old No Longer Legally Required To Wear Face Masks

This comes after the announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)'s revised guidelines.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (23 Sept) announced that the new legal cut-off age for children who are required to wear masks will be raised six years and above, up from two years old currently.

This comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that young children below the age of six may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks. 

“Therefore consistent adult supervision is recommended to ensure appropriate and safe use of masks by these young children,” MOH said in a press release.

Legal Cut-off Age For Children In Singapore To Wear Mask Raised to Six and Above

It is noted that the current existing guidelines on mask-wearing for children allow for some flexibility such as children 12 years old and below being permitted to use a face shield in place of a mask. The revised guidelines were announced in alignment with those of the WHO and UNICEF, MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak said.

Children Under 6

Children aged 6 and above are required to wear a mask. | Image source: Ministry of Education (Facebook)

“To protect young children from COVID-19, we continue to strongly encourage young children to use a mask or face shield, especially if they are in a group setting such as in preschool or when interacting with others,” the health ministry said.

“Children and other persons who may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks or face shields should continue to be supervised when doing so,” it added.

More Activities To Be Allowed

The raising of the legal cut-off age for children to wear masks was not the only safety measure due to be relaxed. MOH also announced on Wednesday, the easing of some restrictions on gatherings for weddings and in religious places, and enabling more employees to return to their workplaces safely.

“More employees (presently working from home) to return to the workplaces. But employers must ensure that such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time,” said MOH.

For example, a full-time worker with a 6-day work week will be allowed to in the office for up to three days in a week. Alternatively, an employer with 10 full-time employees who are currently working from home may split the 10 employees into two teams, and ask each team to return to the workplace every alternate week while the other team continues to work from home. 

But the health ministry reiterated that working from home remains the default mode of working. 

Children Under 6 Years Old No Longer Legally Required To Wear Face Masks

Image source: iStock

Meanwhile, up to 100 attendees will be allowed at all worship services and weddings from Monday (3 Oct), up from the current limit of 50.

“The pilot has shown that safe distancing measures can be effectively implemented,” said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. “We hope these measures will go some way to help support Singaporeans’ spiritual needs, especially during these difficult times.”

Wedding receptions will also be allowed up to 100 unique attendees subject to venue capacity. This includes the wedding couple but not the vendors and service providers.

“Participants in a wedding can be split into multiple zones of up to 50 persons each, or split by staggered timings with up to 50 persons in each slot. There should be at least 30 minutes between slots for cleaning and disinfection of the event space,” MOH said. 

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said: “we have taken a cautious approach to events like weddings. Some couples have put off their wedding plans in the hope that they can ride out the pandemic and proceed with their original plans for a large wedding reception like what we used to do before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“But the end of the pandemic is still some way off, and indefinitely postponing a wedding may not be practical or desirable.”

Children Under 6 Years Old No Longer Legally Required To Wear Face Masks

 

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Written by

Nikki De Guzman

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