Updated: Feb 20
Singapore will exit the circuit breaker as planned on 1st June 2020. However it will do so with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases from the next day. This was announced by the authorities Tuesday 19th May 2020.
In a joint media statement by Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the Government will first resume economic activities that do not pose a high risk of transmission in the first phase, to reduce risk of resurgence in community.
Besides the essential businesses that are already operating, businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks will be allowed to open. These include manufacturing firms, subject to the issued guidelines set for the manufacturing sectors and most offices. Nevertheless, the authorities said that tele-commuting must be used to the “maximum extent”.
“Those who have been working from home so far should continue to do so, and employees should go to the office only where demonstrably necessary,” they said.
Such circumstances might include employees who need to return to the office to access specialised systems and equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to fulfil legal requirements.
The circuit breaker measures have been in place since 7th April 2020, and were further tightened after three weeks, with more workplaces closed, and social gatherings banned.
While it announced the lifting of measures, the authorities emphasised that the country is likely to see a rise in new community cases. As the nation resumes more activities, however, Singapore can expect to see a rise in daily new cases, cautioned the Health Minister Gan Kim Yong while speaking at the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference.
He mentioned that the task force’s decision to exit the circuit breaker is because of the low number of cases in the community, and the stabilised situation at the dormitories.
Examples of some of the easing of measures will
-Hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to resume all services, beyond just basic haircut services.
-All home-based businesses that operate using a delivery or collection model will also be allowed to resume.
- Other services that will be able to resume include motor vehicle servicing, aircon servicing, printing, basic pet services, school bookshops and retail shops selling school uniforms.
Businesses that can resume operations from Jun 2 will not need to apply for exemptions, but will have to submit their manpower details through the GoBusiness portal within two weeks of the date of resumption of operations, the authorities said.
However dining in at food and beverage outlets will continue to be disallowed. Sports and recreation facilities will also remain closed.
“Everyone should continue to leave home only for essential activities, and should wear a mask when doing so. As seniors are a particularly vulnerable group, they should continue to stay at home as much as possible,” the authorities said.
Each household will be allowed to visit their parents or grandparents. As part of this policy, dropping off children at parents’ and grandparents’ homes for childcare will also be allowed, subject to limitations. The agencies said that while people should continue to limit contact with others outside of their household. However Health Minister Gan stressed that while families can visit parents and grandparents, seniors should refrain from leaving their homes to visit their families.
The authorities added that they will allow marriage solemnisations to take place in-person again, involving up to 10 persons.
Places of worship can also reopen for private worship, they added. This will be limited to a maximum of five members of the same household praying together at any one time.
“Families can continue to gather for wakes and funerals, with no more than 10 persons at any one time,” the authorities added.
“Other non-essential activities and social gatherings will remain prohibited, as these will invariably bring together more people living in different households, undermining our efforts to keep our families safe,” they added.
Pre-schools will gradually reopen from Jun 2, so that young children can be cared for safely while their parents return to work.
Studentcare centres will also fully reopen on Jun 2, along with the reopening of schools.
However co-curricular activities, enrichment activities and tuition however will not resume.
Healthcare services such as specialist outpatient services, medical procedures, allied health services, community-based services, and chronic disease management will resume, prioritised by healthcare providers based on medical necessity and available capacity.
Senior activity centres will gradually resume some activities in a safe and controlled manner, to address the psychosocial well-being of seniors with little or no social support.
Community-based centre services for persons with disabilities will also gradually reopen to serve those who need the services, with safe distancing measures in place.