Good news, people of Singapore. Phase 2 of the post-Circuit Breaker period will officially begin on June 19.
In a press conference on June 15, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) said that community infection rates have remained stable despite increase in workplace activity in Phase 1.
Together with the decline in cases in migrant worker dormitories, and no new large clusters emerging, Phase 2 can begin soon.
Here's what Phase 2 entails:
Social gatherings to resume
Small-group social gatherings can resume, of up to five people.
Households can receive up to five visitors at any one time.
Restaurant dining-in to resume
Food and beverage (F&B) places may resume dine-in services.
However, sales of liquor and consumption must stop by 10:30pm.
Live music, television and video screenings will be banned in all F&B outlets at this stage.
Retail businesses to resume
Retailers may re-open their physical outlets, while personal health and wellness and home-based services will be allowed to resume.
Larger public venues, like shopping malls and large standalone retail outlets with high human traffic will be subject to capacity limits.
Operators are required to prevent crowds or long queues from building up within the premises, and in their immediate vicinity.
You can find a complete list of businesses that are allowed to operate at this website. Businesses on the list don't have to apply for an exemption before resuming operations.
However, businesses must submit the number of workers working on-site via the GoBusiness portal within two weeks of resuming operations.
The MTF emphasised that telecommuting for all businesses must remain the default option where feasible.
Gyms and other public facilities to re-open
Sports facilities, parks and other public facilities will reopen in Phase 2.
- Swimming complexes
- Sports halls
- Fitness studios
- Bowling centres
- Function rooms
- Lawns and fields
This also applies to similar facilities in private settings, like clubs and condominiums.
Registered clubs and societies will be allowed to operate at their premises.
Tuition classes, visiting elderly at nursing homes to resume
Tuition and other private enrichment classes can resume, except for singing or voice-training.
All healthcare services will resume, including eldercare community services, individual health screening and aesthetic services.
Face-to-face visits at residential facilities for the elderly (e.g. nursing homes, welfare homes) will also resume.
Safe distancing measures to be general rule
All activities will be subject to the following safe distancing principles.
Measures must be put in place to ensure that individuals are kept one metre apart at all times.
If not feasible, this one metre requirement can instead be enforced between groups. This means each group, comprising a maximum of five people, must be kept one metre apart at all times.
The latter applies to F&B dining-in outlets, or classes where people come together for activities.
Further guidance will be provided by the relevant agencies in the lead-up to Phase 2.
If businesses and organisations flout safe management principles, they may be required to shut down once more.
Religious services, entertainment venues still shut down
Certain businesses and activities cannot re-open or resume even during Phase 2.
The MTF explained that this list includes activities or settings where large numbers of people come into contact for prolonged periods of time, often in enclosed spaces, which are Covid-19 hazards.
- Religious services and congregations.
- Libraries, museums, and other "large cultural venues".
- Conferences, exhibitions, concerts, trade fairs and other large-scale events and venues.
- Bars, nightclubs, karaoke outlets, cinemas, theatres, indoor and outdoor attractions, and other entertainment venues.
Specific guidelines for schools, weddings, funerals
The MTF has specific guidelines for the following events/settings.
Students from all levels will return to school on a daily basis from June 29. The Ministry of Education will share more details later this week.
Weddings to be given extra flexibility. Wedding solemnisations at home, Registry of Marriages (ROM) or Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) may take place of up to 10 people, excluding the Solemniser.
At other venues, this goes up to 20 people, again excluding the solemniser, but subject to the venue's capacity based on safe distancing.
For wakes and funerals, up to 20 people may be present at a time.
Safe management measures for workplaces still applies, including no social gatherings and employees kept one metre apart from each other.
Not your cue to be reckless
Despite the ease in restrictions, this does not signal a return to a life before Covid-19.
Wong said as much during his national address on June 9, also warning that Singapore must expect a rise in Covid-19 cases, due to the increased activity.
This was also seen in other countries who eased their own restrictions.
"As we resume more activities, there will be more human contact and more opportunities for the virus to spread. So we must be mentally prepared to see more cases."
The taskforce will continue to closely monitor the situation and may ease measures until we reach a "new normal" in Phase 3 of the post-Circuit Breaker period.
Top image from Dino Loo via Nature Society (Singapore).