COVID-19: Young Children Under 2 Exempted From Mandatory Mask-wearing, Says Lawrence Wong
Children with special needs will also be given some flexibility in the enforcement of the new rule.
Young 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 in a press conference on Tuesday (14 April), in line with the announcement of the mandatory mask-wearing measure announced today.
The multi-ministry task force in charge of managing the COVID-19 outbreak here has announced that it is now mandatory for anyone leaving their homes to wear masks. The mask-wearing requirement takes effect immediately.
Earlier this month, the Government had updated its advisory on masks based on the “latest medical and scientific advice.” They have since distributed reusable masks to Singaporeans in an exercise that was completed over the weekend.
Mandatory for Anyone Leaving Home to Wear Masks
The multi-ministry taskforce has introduced stringent measures as part of a nationwide “circuit breaker” to curb the further spread of COVID-19 here.
Mr Wong said, there will be a S$300 fine for first-time offenders, while those who breach the rule a second time will be fined S$1,000. Repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases.
Furthermore, foreign residents caught flouting the rules might have their work passes or permanent resident status revoked.
Flexibility in enforcement for some groups
Meanwhile, Mr Wong said medical experts have also advised that some groups may have difficulties wearing a mask, including children with special needs and young children aged two and above, therefore they “will exercise flexibility in enforcement for these groups.”
Those engaging in strenuous exercise outdoors such as running or jogging will also be allowed to not wear a mask while exercising, but they must put it back on after completing the exercise.
Mr Wong also reiterated the need for them to maintain a safe distance from others when they are exercising and at any time when they are outdoors.
He also stressed that despite the mandatory use of masks, the public should not use it as an excuse to go out.
“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,” Mr Wong said.
“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,” he added.