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Fast and Easy Testing for Higher-Risk Arts Instructions Activities

Issued on 4 January 2022

[UPDATED] FAST AND EASY TESTING FOR THE ARTS AND CULTURE SECTOR

1. Since late-June 2021, the Fast and Easy Testing (“FET”) regime has been progressively rolled out for all higher risk sectors, including the Arts & Culture sector. With effect from 1 October onwards, all enterprises in the following fields within the Arts and Culture sector (“Enterprises”):

(1) dance, voice, and theatre training (including speech and drama, actor training), singing and wind/brass instruments instruction activities; and

(2) arts education instruction activities with children aged 12 and below

must comply with the mandatory requirements set out in this updated notice. For avoidance of doubt, the mandatory requirements are specified in the paragraphs below prefaced with the words ‘[Mandatory]

Background 

2. The purpose of the FET regime is to further reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in settings with unmasked clients, or where services are performed under prolonged and close contact with clients, or where there are frequent interactions with the community. Under the FET regime, enterprises are required to ensure that their employees and persons who work under their direction (e.g. contractors and subcontractors) undergo regular FET using the COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (“ART”), regardless of their vaccination or recovery status1. Self-employed persons working in these settings should also ensure that they adhere to the FET regime.

3. The FET regime and the mandatory requirements set out in this notice are imposed on Enterprises under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. Failure to comply with the requirements set out herein may result in prosecution and/or other enforcement action, including suspension/closure of operations2. Checks will be conducted by enforcement teams to verify if Enterprises have complied with the mandatory requirements set out in this notice.

FET Requirements for Enterprises

4. [Mandatory] Enterprises must ensure that all their employees3 and persons who work under their direction4 (collectively, “Workers”) undergo FET once every 7 days (the “FET Requirement”).

5. [Mandatory] After their Workers undergo FET, Enterprises shall verify5 that Worker’s test results.

6. Where the Worker has obtained an “AG+” test result, Enterprises are strongly recommended to guide the Worker to abide by the prevailing management postures for such cases that are set out on the Ministry of Health’s (“MOH”) website at https://www.moh.gov.sg/.

7. To meet the FET Requirement, Enterprises are to conduct Employer-Supervised Self-Swab (“ESSS”) for their Workers. Details on how to conduct ESSS are set out in paragraphs 9 to 13 below. The costs for the ART test kits that will be used for ESSS will be borne by the Government until 31 March 2022.

8. Enterprises that operate small businesses with less than two Workers (refer to Annex A), which are not able to organise supervised self-swabs on their own, may meet the FET Requirement by having their Workers undergo FET at one of the Quick Test Centres (“QTC(s)”) via this link http://www.go.gov.sg/artsculturesepfet. Dance instructors should register at this link (www.go.gov.sg/sepfet1) for testing at SportSG QTCs. For this group, the costs for the services and ART test kits that will be used at the QTC will also be borne by the Government until 31 March 2022. Other groups which can conduct ESSS but prefer to have their Workers undergo FET at the QTCs will need to pay for the services and test kits.

Requirements for Enterprises conducting ESSS

ESSS involves Workers using an ART kit and performing a swab on themselves under the supervision of a supervisor (“Supervisor”). The swabbing and supervision can be done either at the workplace or virtually using tools such as video conferencing.

9. [Mandatory] To satisfy the FET Requirement, Enterprises conducting ESSS for their Workers shall:

(1) appoint an adequate number of Supervisors to supervise every Worker whenever they carry out the swabs on themselves;

(2) ensure that the Supervisor properly performs his supervisory role6;

(3) ensure that Workers comply with the steps set out in paragraph 12 below and properly perform the swabs on themselves;

(4) ensure that the test results obtained by Workers from ESSS are uploaded on the Swab Registration System (“SRS”) in accordance with the requirements set out under paragraph 13 below; and

(5) Ensure that the ART test kits used for ESSS are those that are set out on the Health Sciences Authority’s website at https://www.hsa.gov.sg/consumer-safety/articles/covid19_ARTselftests

9A. Where the Workers have obtained an “AG+” test result while conducting ESSS, Enterprises are recommended to strongly encourage them to abide by the prevailing management postures for such cases that are set out on MOH’s website at https://www.moh.gov.sg/. The follow-up ART under Protocol 2 does not need to be carried out under supervision and the results do not need to be uploaded to SRS. Enterprises are to use self-sourced ART test kits for the follow-up ART test and not those that have been supplied by the Government under the FET regime.

Requirements for Supervisors 

10. [Mandatory] If a Supervisor is above 50-years-old, Enterprises must ensure that he or she is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. they received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination under Singapore’s national vaccination programme or any other vaccine regimen as approved by MOH7 and 14 days have passed from the time of the second dose ) before he or she can perform any supervisory role.

11. If Enterprises8 have more than one outlet that are conducting ESSS, Enterprises are advised to nominate at least two Workers per outlet to perform the role of the Supervisor.

Conduct of ESSS by Workers

12. [Mandatory] Enterprises are required to ensure that their Workers shall:

(1) be supervised9 by a Supervisor whenever they carry out ESSS;

(2) use new ART test kits whenever they carry out ESSS; and

(3) properly dispose of used ART test kits after they have carried out ESSS10.

Uploading of Test Results onto SRS

13. [Mandatory] Enterprises are required to upload the test results obtained by their Workers from ESSS onto SRS in accordance with the following:

(1) if the test result is “AG+”, Enterprises are to upload the test result of that Worker onto SRS no later than 12 hours after the ESSS for that specific Worker is completed;

(2) if the test result is “AG-”, Enterprises are to upload the test result of that Worker no later than 24 hours after the ESSS for that specific Worker is completed; and

(3) the requirements set out under paragraphs 4 and 6 of Annex C.

14. More details on the registration for an SRS account can be found in paragraph 17 below or at www.go.gov.sg/artsbizfet.

Support for Enterprises conducting ESSS 

15. The Government will be supplying ART test kits to Enterprises until 31 March 2022. To place an order for the ART test kits, Enterprises are required to submit the relevant information using the form at www.go.gov.sg/artsbizfet ("Order Form”). Enterprises that carry out their businesses across multiple premises (e.g., outlets) should submit a consolidated Order Form for all their premises11. The ART test kits will be delivered to Enterprises on first-come-first-served basis. Enterprises shall only use the ART test kits that are supplied by the Government for ESSS and shall not distribute, supply or sell them to any third-party. ART Test Kits must be used with prudence and companies need to ensure that one employee only use one test kit for one cycle of RRT, unless the test result is AG invalid.

16. After submission of the Order Form, a confirmation email and SMS from a third-party vendor will be sent to your POC with the delivery date within a week.

17. The information that is submitted on the Order Form will also be used by the relevant Government agencies to help Enterprises set up an SRS account. Once the SRS account has been set up, your POC will receive an email notification informing them about the creation of the SRS account and how to upload test results onto it.

FOR SELF-EMPLOYED PERSONS (SEPs) and SMALL BUSINESSES (Updated on 3 January 2022)

18. For the purposes of the FET regime, Small Businesses are defined as having no more than 2 employees requiring FET in the company. This refers to full-time, part-time, and contracted employees and instructors.

19. [Mandatory] SEPs and employees of small Businesses in the settings outlined above who may not be able to organise the supervised self-swabs on their own, are to secure an appointment at Quick Test Centres (QTCs) via this link (www.go.gov.sg/artsculturesepfet). You will be auto-allocated a time slot based on a first-come-first-serve basis. We encourage you to register 3 days prior to your intended date to secure your slot at your desired QTCs.

20. A confirmation SMS with your appointment details will be sent by one day prior to your test date. Rescheduling of missed appointments and registration of subsequent FET appointments once every 7 days are to be made via the same link. If you failed to receive the confirmation SMS by the stipulated time, you may write in to us via RRT@nac.gov.sg. Cancellation of appointments will be reviewed by case-to-case basis.

21. You are required to inform the National Arts Council (via RRT@nac.gov.sg) to be excused from the mandatory weekly FET if you are not working for more than a month. You will be removed from the subsidised QTC12 testing if you fail to undergo any testing for more than a month from your last test date.

22. [Mandatory] SEPs and employees of small Dance Studios/ Workshop Businesses who may not be able to organise the supervised self-swabs on their own, are to register at this link ( www.go.gov.sg/sepfet) to secure an appointment at the Quick Test Centres (QTCs)123set up by SportSG. Employees who have earlier registered with SportSG or MOE for FET need not register again. Dance instructors should register at this link (www.go.gov.sg/sepfet1) for subsequent testing at SportSG QTCs.

23. Please refer to ANNEX B for the FET workflow for Self-Employed Persons and Small Businesses.

Cessation of ‘Vaccinate or Regular Test’ from 15 January 2022

24. From 1 January 2022, all recovered persons from COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated will only be given a 180-day exemption instead of the previous 270-day14.

25. From 15 January 2022, the Pre-Event Testing concession for unvaccinated persons to return to the workplace will be removed i.e. only persons who are fully vaccinated, or have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days can return to the workplace under the Workforce Vaccination Measures (WVM). Those who are medically ineligible for all vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme continue to be exempted from WVM if they need to work on-site. Partially vaccinated workers (i.e. those who have taken at least one dose of vaccine but are not yet fully vaccinated) will be granted a grace period until 31 January 2022 to complete their vaccination regime. During the grace period, they will continue to be able to enter the workplace with a negative Pre-Event Testing and they will need to pay for the tests as performed by MOH-approved test providers15.

26. The Workforce Vaccination Measures (WVM) will also be enforced on Self-Employed Persons.

Support from Enterprises, Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) and Small Businesses

27. The fight against COVID-19 requires the collective effort of everyone in the community. We seek your support and understanding during this period. We will continue to review and adjust the measures in line with the national posture for the health and well-being of the public and employees.

28. For more details on the FET-ESSS regime, please refer to Annex D and download the Employer-led Supervised Self Swabs (ESSS) Companies Guidebook.

29. For other clarifications on the FET regime in the Arts and Culture Sector, please contact National Arts Council via RRT@NAC.gov.sg.

1[Updated as of 1 January 2022] All individuals, including those who (a) are fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, (b) have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, or (c) are certified by a medical practitioner to be medically ineligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, are required to comply with the FET Requirement. Only individuals who have fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection and are fully vaccinated would be exempted from the FET requirement. This includes persons who a) recovered from a COVID-19 infection and subsequently receives at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (two doses if Sinovac or Sinopharm) that has been authorised under the Health Sciences Authority’s Pandemic Special Access Route or listed on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL) no earlier than 3 months after date of positive PCR, or, b) are fully vaccinated before being infected with COVID-19 and subsequently recovering from it, or, c) received one dose of Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine and one dose of any other WHO EUL vaccine before being infected with COVID-19 and recovering from it. Persons who received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before being infected would need to receive their 2nd dose (3rd dose if Sinovac or Sinopharm) to be exempted.

2 Enterprises are reminded to comply with the other requirements imposed under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 and implement the Safe Management Measures (“SMMs”) as set out on the COVID Gobusiness website. They are also reminded to comply with the relevant SMMs that have been set out by Government Agencies.

3 This includes both full and part time employees, such as part-time music instructors, administrative staff and cleaners employed by the businesses.

4 This includes contractors (e.g., cleaners), subcontractors, employees of contractors and subcontractors who work at the workplace. This also includes business owners and store managers that work at the workplace.

5 Enterprises are required to inspect any physical test result slip, SMS or test kit evidencing the test result of the Worker. It would not be sufficient for Enterprises to rely on oral statements by Workers to fulfill this obligation.

6 This includes wearing adequate personal protective equipment and maintaining appropriate infection prevention control procedures while conducting supervision.

7 Please refer to the First Schedule of the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 Access Restrictions and Clearance) Regulations 2021 for the most updated information on the vaccination regimen and approved vaccines.

8 Enterprises can consider asking Supervisors to verify their vaccination status via TraceTogether.

9 This can be done in person or virtually.

10 Used test kits should be double-bagged and tied before disposing them in closed bins (e.g. pedal bins).

11 For enterprises with multiple outlets under the same UEN, you may submit your request to create multiple SRS company accounts under the same UEN. However, there must be a unique mobile number and email address used for each account. Enterprises without a UEN can indicate their NRIC in the UEN field instead.

12 QTC test subsidy for SEPs and Small Businesses will be in effect till 31 March 2022

13 The QTCs set up by SportSG are Bishan, Jurong West, and Pasir Ris ActiveSG Sport Centres. They are operational from 10am – 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am – 1pm on Saturdays (including public holidays).

14 See Press Release “PREPARING FOR THE OMICRON VARIANT” on 14 Dec 2021: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/preparing-for-the-omicron-variant_14Dec2021

15 See the Press Release “ADJUSTING OUR APPROACH TO MANAGE THE OMICRO VARIANT” on 26 Dec 2021. Please refer to the MOM’s advisory at www.mom.gov.sg/vaccinationadvisory for details on WVM