After more than two years since the onset of COVID-19, the further easing of restrictions from 29th March 2022 is a significant milestone for our arts sector and audiences. With strong support from the National Arts Council (NAC), our artists and arts groups have tapped on upskilling and capability development opportunities, commissions, and partnerships, to keep up their practice and actively engage audiences both here and overseas.
This latest set of Safe Management Measures (SMMs) will give artists and arts groups the opportunity to refine and put into practice new skillsets and approaches, to create innovative, hybrid works, and expand their ways of engagement with Singaporeans as well as international markets. The increased accessibility enabled by technology will also allow audiences from all over to discover and appreciate #SGCultureAnywhere, especially given the wider range of physical and digital arts experiences that our arts scene will have to offer.
Live performances to resume in all venues and settings
With live performances permitted to resume in all venues and settings, singers, musicians, and DJs can bring live music back to F&B establishments, on top of other performing venues and platforms. In addition, there will be no restrictions on the number of performers and crew or unmasked performers. Indoor live performances may have up to 1,000 audience members or 75% of venue capacity for performances with more than 1,000 audience members, among other revised SMMs.
As community SMMs ease and Singaporeans resume more normal lives, the arts will be a part of our daily encounters and social interactions once more. Singapore’s streets will be enlivened by busking activities, a move that is very welcomed by the community after more than two years of engaging audiences through self-initiated platforms, livestreamed busking sessions and live busking pilots. Endorsed buskers under the Busking Scheme will be able to perform mask-free outdoors, with audiences at a one-metre safe distance. Singing and playing of wind instruments can fill the air on the streets, as long as buskers are fully vaccinated, recovered from a COVID-19 infection or medically ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
A new busking e-service portal has also been launched on NAC’s website for buskers to enjoy greater access to locations and time slots. With this portal, there will no longer be fixed allocation of five designated busking locations per busker, as buskers will have access to all approved locations island-wide. This first-come first-served booking platform, with a ballot system in place for more popular venues will ensure greater equity and flexibility for buskers than before. Additionally, buskers can customise online profiles for added visibility and reach. Venue partners and public can know more about them and their upcoming acts at various locations on this portal too.
More people to enjoy arts classes and workshops on-site, together
Art enthusiasts, artists, and arts educators will no longer be required to adhere to class size limits for all mask-on classes, workshops and VDS classes (i.e. in dance, singing and wind instruments). However, if there are non-vaccinated children aged 12 and below in a mask-off class, the class size will be limited to 10 pax (including instructor). All other individuals in class apart from the unvaccinated children aged 12 and below must be fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 infection, or medically ineligible for the vaccination.
Sustaining support for Singapore’s arts
This latest easing of SMMs comes right at the heels of the supplementary support for the arts and culture sector announced by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) during the Committee of Supply earlier this month. An additional $12 million will be injected in 2022 to build on the gains of the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) and sustain the momentum that has been built over the past two years.