The circuit breaker (CB) ended on June 1 ,and now, Singapore has started opening its economy in three stages: Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3.
If you’ve been reading the news, you’d know that the rules of CB pretty much applies during Phase 1. So what’s the difference? What’s reopening in Phase 1? We lay it out for you.
But first things first, yes, you still have to wear a mask out.
Only specific groups of people will be allowed to wear face shields. This includes teachers, since it’s not practical for them to wear masks while teaching, children under 12 years old or those with health conditions such that they experience breathing difficulties when they use a mask.
“Face shields may continue, however, to augment the use of masks but the mask wearing will be the default,” the Health Ministry’s director of medical services, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak during a press conference on June 1. “If a face shield is worn, it has to be worn in such a way that it’s worn properly to cover the entire face from the forehead to below the chin, wrapping around the sides of the face.”
They should go into the office only when the employer can demonstrate that it is necessary, such as to access specialised systems or equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to complete a contract or transaction that is legally required to be completed in person and on site.
You can return to the workplace if your company is on the list of businesses permitted to resume operations from June 2, and if your employer has put safe management measures in place.
Your employer must also demonstrate the business or operational reasons why you are unable to work from home despite reviewing and redesigning work processes.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) inspectors will assess the efforts put in by companies to implement work-from-home arrangements, based on whether it is practical for workers to work from home, given the nature of their jobs.
Safe distancing measures must be implemented in the workplace for those who are there.
For offices, this includes the wearing of masks inside the premises, no gatherings with colleagues during meals or breaks, and no cross-deployment of workers.
For manufacturing, cleaning and disinfection of all equipment must be stepped up, among other things.
For shops, the SafeEntry digital check-in system must be in place, floors must be marked to show queue lines and common spaces and items must be regularly disinfected.
Employees must telecommute where possible. They can report workplace safety and health issues to MOM via the SnapSafe mobile application.
Companies must be able to show why staff who return to the office are unable to work from home.
Safe distancing measures must be implemented in the workplace for those who are there. For offices, this includes the wearing of masks inside the premises, no gatherings with colleagues during meals or breaks, and no cross-deployment of workers.
Students from the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design will continue having lectures and tutorials online and will return primarily for practical and lab sessions, including capstone and final-year projects.
The other autonomous universities, including the National University of Singapore, will be having their vacation, and will resume term around August or September.
Safe distancing should be observed as far as possible. Commuters in buses and MRT trains should practise good personal hygiene and refrain from talking and using their phones, the LTA has said.
School bookshops and retail shops selling school uniforms can resume activities.
Selected services, including motor vehicle servicing, air-conditioner servicing, basic pet services and full hairdressing services, can also resume.
Wet markets, supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) medical halls and hair salons remain open.
More bank branches will open.
Money changers can operate if they have safe distancing measures in place and get the necessary approvals.
Businesses that still cannot resume include bars, pubs, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas. They are deemed higher-risk because they draw crowds in an enclosed space.
To manage the risks of transmission, most retail outlets will have to remain closed until further notice. Department stores will remain shut.
Eating in hawker centres, restaurants and most canteens continue to be disallowed. These outlets, as well as food caterers, can continue to operate to offer takeaway and delivery options.
No. Such sports and outdoor recreational facilities in HDB estates will continue to remain closed to the public. They will likely be able to reopen only in phase two, at least four weeks away.
Fishing areas, fitness corners and playgrounds in parks remain shut.
Stadiums, public swimming pools, games courts and other fitness areas remain closed.
Pools and fitness facilities in condominiums remain closed.
Private gyms remain closed.
Country club facilities like pools and golf courses remain closed.
If you need to exercise (walk, jog, cycle), you must still only do so in your neighbourhood.
You can now exercise with household members. But you can’t gather to exercise with others not from your household.
You must wear a mask when you set out, and while you may remove it when doing strenuous exercise, you should put it back on once that is done.
The beaches at East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park, Pasir Ris Park, Punggol Point, Sembawang Park and West Coast Park remain closed.
No. All libraries will remain closed and their on-site services such as book drops and reservation lockers will continue to be unavailable. You will not be fined if you have not returned material that is due. You will have three weeks after libraries eventually reopen to do so.
More healthcare services will be open with priority given to patients with more urgent medical needs.
Treatment for advanced cataracts and hand surgery will be allowed.
Flu vaccinations and pre-enlistment screening will be allowed. But chronic disease and cancer screening under the Health Promotion Board’s Screen For Life programme will resume in Phase 2.
Traditional Chinese medicine needle acupuncture, ayurvedic, chiropractic, osteopathic and other forms of traditional and complementary services for management of medical conditions and the relief of symptoms are allowed.
Procedures that only alter appearances – such as Botox and fillers – continue to be disallowed.
Teeth scaling and polishing, fillings, crowns, dentures and orthodontic treatments are allowed during Phase 1.
No, these services remain closed. Beauty salons may continue to sell products online and deliver them to customers.
However, the good news is that hair salons will be able to offer colouring and chemical treatments from June 2.
Foot reflexology services will also not be allowed in phase one.
In hospitals, visitors from up to two households will be allowed for patients. However, a maximum of five visitors will be allowed to pre-register, and only one person will be able to visit at a time. Hospitals may introduce further measures to space out visits and avoid crowding.
Visits to residential care homes, including nursing homes, continue to be suspended.
Private worship will now be allowed in small groups of no more than five people per household, and no more than five households at any one time.
Religious rites and ceremonies are still not allowed, except for marriage solemnisations and funeral-related activities. They can involve up to 10 people, excluding the solemniser or religious workers.
Families may continue to install niches in columbaria in places of worship.
All government-managed columbaria, including Mandai Columbarium, will remain closed for now.
No. Car showrooms will remain closed and you still cannot test-drive a car. But motor companies can continue to sell vehicles online and deliver them to customers.
Motor workshop services, however, will be allowed to reopen and resume services. Currently, they can tend to only emergency cases.
No. Such home-based cleaning services are not allowed to resume.
If you’re looking to employ a full-time maid, the physical outlets of maid agencies are not allowed to open. However, they can continue to operate online.
More service centres/counters will open but operate by appointment only. They include those at HDB Hub, HDB branches, Central Provident Fund, MOMs Employment Pass Services Centre.
Community clubs (CCs) remain closed. But people can still apply for financial aid at all CCs and reset their SingPass at selected ones.
No. Property viewings still cannot be conducted in person. But you can do so virtually.
As for property agents, while they still cannot meet clients face to face, they can do so where the clients’ physical presence is legally required to complete a transaction. The meeting must take place in the office of the real estate company.
All construction work, including home renovation, will need approval from the Building and Construction Authority before they can restart. Priority will be given to projects that had started before the circuit breaker and were suspended.
New renovation projects will not be allowed for now.
In the meantime, you can use these apps to help you design your home.
No. Outlets selling predominantly beverages, such as alcohol and bubble tea, are still not allowed to reopen. Food and beverage outlets, food caterers and canteens are permitted to open, but can provide only takeaway and delivery options.
But don’t worry, you can still get your bubble tea fix at these stores that are providing delivery services.
You still can’t visit or meet anyone living in a different household. If caught, you face a composition fine of $300.
Repeat offenders will face higher fines, or prosecution in court for egregious cases.
All arts facilities and venues, including museums, art galleries and all indoor and outdoor performance venues such as concert halls, are still shut.
Leisure travel is not allowed. But essential travel may be allowed to resume. For instance, Singapore and China will launch a fast-track immigration arrangement early in June to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries.
The arrangement would first apply to Singapore and six provinces or municipalities directly under the Chinese central government – Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Singapore is also in talks with a few other countries to work out similar arrangements.
Staycations in local hotels are still disallowed.
No. To manage the risks of transmission, most retail outlets, including those selling health supplements, will have to stay closed until further notice. They may continue to sell their products online and fulfil the orders through delivery. However, Watsons and Guardian outlets remain open.
No. They cannot reopen their physical outlets but can continue to operate remotely.
No. Insurance agents still cannot have face-to-face meetings with clients, except where the physical presence of the client is legally required to complete transactions. These meetings must take place in the office of the insurer.
Yes, basic grooming, animal physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for pets can restart on June 2.
But there will be restrictions. Grooming, for instance, includes the maintenance of skin and fur, teeth brushing, emptying of anal glands and medicated baths. It excludes cosmetic styling of pets’ fur and spa baths.
If you are taking your pet for physiotherapy or rehabilitation, you will need a referral from a vet.
All services must be by appointment. Non-essential services such as pet-sitting, daycare for animals, walking, boarding and the sale of pets will remain prohibited.
No, but you can apply for a new passport online at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) website.
While the ICA Building has resumed limited counter services that cannot be done or completed online, such as collection of passports and identity cards (ICs), this will be by appointment only.
You can book an appointment via ICA’s e-Appointment Service here or via the eAPPT@ICA mobile application.
For services that are not available on the e-Appointment Service, you can book an appointment here.
There is no need to rush to the ICA Building to collect your passport or IC as the deadline for collection has been extended to Sept 30.
A one-time delivery of your IC or passport will be arranged by ICA for free, if you applied between Jan 1 and May 31 for an IC under the mandatory/optional IC re-registration or a new passport to replace an expiring passport after receiving ICA’s notification letter.
ICA will contact you to provide more details of this service from mid-June to end-July. If you need your document urgently, you can collect it by making an appointment via ICA’s e-Appointment Service.
Applicants for Singapore citizenship, permanent residence and long-term visit passes who were unable to complete their formalities during the circuit breaker period will have more time to do so, as the validity of their in-principle approval has been extended to June 30.
Only those that operate using a delivery or collection model are allowed to resume. Deliveries, emergency repairs, installations or air-conditioner servicing can be conducted. Other businesses should not involve meeting clients in person at their homes.
No. Flying of outdoor recreational unmanned aircraft is not permitted.
For unmanned aircraft operations for business purposes, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it will issue a permit only if the drone is being operated for services permitted during phase one, such as security services, and where operations are done in settings with low transmission risk, such as open fields.
Image: Kaie Lee / 123RF.com
Text: Yuen Sin, Charmaine Ng / The Straits Times / May 2020