Singapore

Communal activities resume at some workers' dorms

In the past few weeks, about 50 purpose-built and Quick Build Dormitories have applied to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for their workers to resume certain communal activities such as outdoor sports, board games, cooking and even small group movie screenings.

So far, about 30 have received approval to restart over 120 activities within their premises.

They must ensure there are safe distancing measures in place, Mr Tan Fang Qun, commander of Regional Command (West) of MOM's Assurance, Care and Engagement Group, said during a visit to Changi Lodge 2 on Sunday.

Restrictions for workers residing in dorms have been gradually eased in recent weeks as part of a calibrated approach taken by the authorities.

Foreign workers at some dorms can now exercise at the outdoor courts and gyms within the premises, and watch movies in television rooms during their free time.

They can also unwind in games rooms or use communal kitchens to whip up their meals, if the dorm operators have been given the approval for their workers to do so.

But these workers have to abide by certain rules, from staggered time slots for the use of kitchen facilities to maintaining a safe distance in the outdoor courts.

The restrictions on the more than 300,000 workers staying in dorms - including confining them to their quarters - were introduced following a surge in Covid-19 cases in the dorms in April.

Currently, workers are still largely required to stay in their dorms except when they are going to work or running essential errands. They can also apply to visit specified recreation centres on their rest days.

Mr Johnathan Cheah, managing director of S11 Dormitories, which runs Changi Lodge 2, said some workers have been cooped up in their rooms for months, and miss their lives before the pandemic.

"Across all the dorms in Singapore, what we are trying to do is to resume many of the normal activities they used to enjoy," he added.

coronavirus