Phase 2 Of Post-Circuit Breaker Reopening To Be Decided Mid-June

Jia Ling

We are just a couple more days until Singapore exits Circuit Breaker mode, with Phase 1 kicking in on 2 June 2020. And this could leave some Singaporeans feeling apprehensive and not knowing what is to come. 

Still, it is heartening to note that Singapore is managing the situation in a “calibrated and careful way” and there has been progress in keeping community cases low in Singapore

Post-Circuit Breaker: Phase 2 Could Happen Before End-June

Previously, the Multi-ministry task force announced and explained the framework for the reopening of the economy and society with a three-phased approach.

And while Phase 1 has yet to commence in Singapore, we are already hearing the possibility of the move into Phase 2 of reopening before end-June. 

That is if community transmission rates over the first two weeks of June remain low and stable, said National Development Minister Mr Lawrence Wong who co-chairs the task force, in a media conference on Thursday (28 May).

“We will decide by the middle of June, on whether we want to take the next step to move to Phase 2—and that means Phase 2 could happen before the end of June.” 

What to Expect in Coming Weeks: More Services to Open

At this juncture in Phase 2, almost the entire economy will be opened by the start of Phase 2 according to Mr Wong.

With safe management measures, group size and capacity limits put in place, Singapore will resume a wider range of activities, including:

  • Re-opening of retail shops and consumer services
  • Dine-ins at F&B establishments
    • Maximum of 5 people per group
Post-Circuit Breaker

In phase 2 of the post-circuit breaker, dine-ins apply to groups with a maximum of 5 people. | Photo: iStock

  • Opening of sports facilities and public venues 
    • e.g. Stadiums and swimming pools
  • Social interaction and family visits 
    • Maximum of 5 people per group; for home visits, up to 5 visitors a day

*Mask-wearing is still compulsory. 

Activities in High-risk Settings 

When it comes to activities or venues with typically large gatherings of people, or close contact of people in enclosed spaces however, Mr Wong said that this will have to be looked at more carefully. 

These activities / settings include:

  • Libraries
  • Bars, clubs and discos
  • Religious functions
  • Museums and theatres

Mr Wong noted that not all of these activities will resume at the start of Phase 2. 

Based on previous experiences locally and overseas, cases of transmission in these higher-risk settings have taken place. Mr Wong said that the team wants to take a more cautious approach in resuming these activities. 

Post-Circuit Breaker: libraries are considered as a high-risk settings and such activities will have to be monitored more carefully. | Photo: iStock

Discussions with businesses and organisations will be held across these settings on the safeguards and safe management measures needed. And subsequently, discussions will be made on precise timings on when these activities can resume within Phase 2. 

In talks to Re-open Borders in Singapore

According to Mr Wong, the team is in talks with specific countries on how to safely reopen borders.

In efforts to ease travel restrictions, conversations include the establishing of “travel bubbles” with countries where the coronavirus is under control, as well as “safe green lane” travel arrangements in specific countries.

There will be clear protocols put in place, such as the testing of travellers heading in and out of Singapore. More details on the specific countries will be announced later when the information is ready. 

This will also allow for the resumption of essential travel for work purposes regionally, subjected to the safeguard measures. 

Post-Circuit Breaker: Mass market travel will have to wait. | Photo: iStock

“Mass market travel” Will Have to Wait

That said, Mr Wong emphasised that the re-opening of borders does not mean the public can engage in “mass market travel”, which will “take a lot longer to resume” globally. 

While Singaporeans look forward to resuming normal activities, Mr Wong also reiterated the possibility of a rise in community transmission as more activities resume and urged all to be socially responsible. 

“We have to be prepared that there will be more cases. All the more important for us to stay vigilant, [and] be socially responsible.”

Lead image via ActiveSG

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