COVID-19 Circuit Breaker: Everything You Need To Know This Month

Jia Ling

Amid the rising number of local COVID-19 cases in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an announcement last Friday (3 April) to inform Singaporeans about stricter measures that will be implemented to “reduce the risk of a big outbreak”: a circuit breaker. Covid-19 Circuit Breakers

For one month from Tuesday until May 4 at the least, Mr Lee asks for everyone to bear with these “painful adjustments” involving the ‘no dining out’ rule, shifting all schools and institutes of higher learning to full home-based learning, among many others.

In the face of these additional measures implemented, we understand it can be overwhelming for some, if not many. Here, we share a list of what you can or cannot do during this crucial period to help you better transition into this new norm.

Covid-19 Circuit Breakers

COVID-19 Circuit Breakers see a move towards preventing a COVID-19 outbreak. | Photo: iStock

Covid-19 Circuit Breakers: A Comprehensive Guide

Category  What does it involve & possible restrictions?

School /

enrichment classes

  • All preschools, MOE Kindergartens and student care centres, including special student care centres, will be closed (effective from 8 April for three weeks till 4 May 2020)
  • Parents/guardians who are working in essential services and are unable to find alternative care arrangements can still receive help 
  • Selected care services will still be open (parents, please check with your respective school)
  • All schools (primary, secondary, Junior Colleges), institutes of higher learning and Special Education schools will be shifted to home-based learning -students will be taught by their teachers online (effective from 8 April for three weeks till 4 May 2020)
  • Mid-year exams will be cancelled
  • National exams will carry on (Mid-year O- and A-level mother tongue exams, PSLE and final-year exams)
  • Enrichment classes put on hold (Face-to-face tuition, piano, dance etc)

Work commitments/commuting

  • Most workplaces will be closed except for essential services and key economic sectors such as clinics, hospitals, supermarkets and key banking services among others. Social distancing measures should still be observed, reducing physical meetings, etc
  • Work continues as usual for employees if given the option to telecommute or work-from-home
  • Petrol stations operate as usual
  • If you drive, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges—at all gantries—will halt until May 4
  • Taxi or private-hire car services remain as per normal
  • You can still take the public buses and MRT as per usual

Food / daily necessities 

Take-away and delivery only 

  • Dining out will no longer be an option. Food and beverages outlets (restaurants, hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts – or any with a food license) will be available for takeaway and delivery only

You can consider options like Foodpanda, Deliveroo and GrabFood.

Grocery shopping

  • You can still get your groceries from supermarkets, wet markets, provision shops etc. Do remember to practise social distancing, even at wet markets

Visiting the doctor / health or aesthetic services 

 YES, services available.

  • You can still visit your nearby general practitioner clinics (GPs) and polyclinics. Public and private hospitals, offsite specialist clinics and community hospitals remain open
  • Dialysis services and other renal replacement services
  • Blood donation services
  • Senior befriending and counselling services – only if offered remotely
  • Veterinary services (emergency and non-elective services, including hospitalisation of pets) 

*You should not be sending your pets for grooming

NO, services not available. 

  • Annual health screening
  • Aesthetic services such as cataract surgery (including Botox fix)
  • Outpatient rehabilitation therapy
  • Traditional Chinese medicine treatments (TCM) – e.g. acupuncture 

Other essential services 

YES, still in operation.

  • Pet supplies stores
  • Optician services (and sale of products)
  • Banking services – if you need to withdraw money (online services, bank branches and ATMs)
  • Repair services – consumer electronics and household appliances
  • Hardware stores – building and maintenance-related equipment and tools
  • Telcos 
  • Postal and mail services 
  • Waste collection and disposal services

Closed, or limited operation 

  • Funeral-related services will continue (with safe distancing measures implemented)

*All government-managed columbaria will be closed (Tuesday to May 4). Choa Chu Kang Cemetery will remain open for burials, and Mandai Crematorium will remain open for cremation services

  • Hair salons and barber services remain open – you can only do simple haircuts; perming, colouring of hair and those requiring long hours will not be allowed
  • Personal grooming services such as facials, beauty treatments, as well as nail salons, will be shut

Visiting people 

  • Hospital visits: you may visit wards but number of visitors are controlled during the period of stay. Do check with the hospital or visit their website for details

*Note: You are advised to to put on your own surgical mask when entering the ward

  • Relatives or friends: it is not advised to make visits and engage in socialising activities (apart from your own household) during this crucial period, especially in protecting the health of seniors
  • All places of worship will be closed. However, funeral rites may still be conducted where necessary, keeping to a maximum of 10 people at one time

Recreational facilities

  • Suspension of singing, dancing and exercises classes at community centres. Online programmes are still available
  • Most sports and recreational centres will be shut, including swimming facilities, fitness studios, private gyms and bowling centres

*Public parks and SportSG’s 17 open-air stadiums remain open. Do check out 

  • If you live in a condominium, gyms and swimming pools will also be closed
  • Shopping activities are not encouraged (major stores and outlets will be shut down)
  • Refrain from taking your kids out for leisure or recreational activities (all museums and attractions including ArtScience museum and Science Centre Singapore will be closed)
  • Marina Bay Sands will shut its services, including hotels, attractions and F&B outlets
  • Resorts World Sentosa F&B outlets are only open for take-away
  • Staycations will be suspended – hotels will not accept new guests during this period
  • Bookstores and all public libraries & services will be closed from Tuesday until May 4.

If you have already borrowed a book, loan expiry dates will be extended until three weeks after the library reopens. No overdue fines will be imposed. You can continue to access and borrow e-resources and gain access to other services through their app. 

With this move put in place, it will help prevent escalating infections, said Mr Lee and everyone has a part to play by taking social distancing very seriously. 

Covid-19 Circuit Breakers

COVID-19 Circuit Breakers: Medical facilities, personnel and supplies will continue to experience strain if efforts to prevent further escalation of COVID-19 do not improve. | Photo: iStock

In a span of a day (5 April), Singapore was hit with a whopping 120 new COVID-19 cases, involving two foreign worker dormitories—a record high of cases involving a 3-digit jump. 

This signals that we have to be stronger as a community, and walking the talk to protect our loved ones. 

Also read: 

Teacher At PCF Sparkletots Centre in Hougang Tests Positive for COVID-19, Centre To Close For 2 Weeks

COVID-19: 7-year-old & 9-year-old Among 75 New Cases Reported in Singapore

Online Calculator Shows How Much Food You Need For A 14-day Quarantine

Violet Lim, CEO of Lunch Actually talks about playing matchmaker and running a business with her husband!

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