With the new circuit breaker announced by the government last week, you can only go out of the house for work (if you work in one of the essential services or key economic sectors) or to buy food and groceries.

Worried about walking into a crowd when you go out? Good news, the government has launched websites that allow you to check how crowded a shopping mall or park is before you head there.

Those heading out to buy essentials can check how crowded shopping malls are online before leaving the house.

A new website, Space Out, colour codes shopping malls according to current crowd levels, in hopes that people will make better decisions about where to go amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Launched by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) with 50 malls across the island, the website provides regular updates to users based on data from retail malls on shopper traffic.

Each mall is represented on the map by a coloured circle – green for not crowded, yellow for some crowd, orange for crowded, and red for maximum.

URA said shoppers can help to ease the pressure on retail mall operators in terms of crowd management by changing their plans to go to less crowded malls.

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Malls with no crowd-level information currently appears in grey on the website.

The URA is working to get more mall operators on board so that shoppers can make more informed decisions.

Some of the more popular malls with available information include Bugis Junction, Westgate and Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Jem, 313 @ Somerset, Clarke Quay Central and others have also joined the programme and will have their crowd data up on the website shortly.

NParks also launched a website so you can check how crowded the parks in Singapore are before you head out to exercise.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged all Singaporeans to stay at home. People should no longer meet those outside their immediate families, he said, and should leave home only for essential things like buying food and exercise. It’s important to keep a safe distance when you head out.

“If we do not go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus will not be able to spread. It is as simple as that,” he said.

Image: 123RF.com
Text: Clement Yong / The Straits Times / April 2020

Additional text: Hidayah Idris

Read more Covid-19-related stories in our Self-care Guide.


COVID-19: What You Need To Know About The Major Month-long Circuit Breaker

Covid19 Singapore Coronavirus Circuit breaker

Over the past week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore has surpassed 1,000. To date, there are five deaths arising from the coronavirus. Given the rising figures, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced today (April 3) that the Singapore government will be implementing a month-long circuit breaker to stem the spread of the virus. Here’s what’s going to happen:

Most workplaces will close

Most workplaces will be closed from next Tuesday (April 7). The exceptions to this are key economic sectors and essential services, such as food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services, said PM Lee in the address to the nation on the Covid-19 situation.

You can still head out of your house to buy food

PM Lee said the government will also tighten restrictions on gatherings. It boils down to three things, he noted.

“First, stay at home, as much as possible. Second, avoid socialising with others beyond your own household,” he said, adding that people should avoid visiting even their extended families who are not staying with them, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable. Third, people should go out only to do essential things – to buy food at markets, or to take out from restaurants and hawker centres, or to exercise in the neighbourhood park, keeping a safe distance from others, he added.

“The spirit of these measures is to get all of us to minimise physical contact,” he said. “If we don’t go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus won’t be able to spread. It is as simple as that.”

The government will be distributing reusable masks to all households

The Government will no longer discourage people who are well from wearing masks. This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s review of its stance on the issue of face masks.

“We now think there are some cases out there in the community going undetected, though probably still not that many,” PM Lee added. “We also now have evidence that an infected person can show no symptoms, and yet still pass on the virus to others… Therefore, we will no longer discourage people from wearing masks.”

He said wearing a mask may help to protect others, in case a person has the virus but does not know it. Hence, the Government will distribute reusable masks to all households from Sunday. Surgical masks will still be conserved for people who really need it, such as healthcare workers.

“But remember, mask or no mask, you still need to wash your hands, and keep a safe distance away from other people,” PM Lee added.

For more information on how to collect your mask, please visit www.maskgowhere.sg.

Schools will shift to full home-based learning from April 8

Students in all schools and institutes of higher learning will shift to full home-based learning from next Wednesday (April 8). “All pre-school and student care centres will also be closed, but will provide limited services for children of parents who have to continue working and are unable to make alternative care arrangements,” PM Lee said.

Text: Toh Ting Wei, Danson Cheong, Rei Kurohi/The Straits Times/April 2020
Additional reporting: Sophie Hong