(Singapore, May 29, 2020) Singapore is planning to decide by the middle of June to proceed with Phase Two of reopening that will entail the resumption of almost all the entire economic activities, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced in a statement.
From Tuesday on, the island country will exit the Circuit Breaker and embark on Phase One of re-opening when over 1/4 of the economy will start to resume operations. However, masks will remain compulsory whenever outside one’s home during Phase One or Phase Two.
The Multi-Ministry Taskforce says it will carefully monitor the effects of increased activity in this phase. If the community infection rates remain low and stable over the subsequent two weeks, it will decide by the middle of June to proceed with Phase Two, which could then happen before the end of June.
Most business activities will be allowed to resume operations in Phase Two, subject to safe management measures, group size, and capacity limits being met.
These businesses include retail, food and beverage dine-in, personal health and wellness, as well as home-based services. Sports and other public facilities, e.g. stadia, swimming pools, will be opened too. Further details on sector-specific safe management measures will be provided by relevant agencies closer to the start of Phase Two.
“We will adopt a more cautious approach for higher-risk activities. These typically involve large numbers of people interacting with one another, often in enclosed spaces, and for prolonged periods of time,” the statement says.
Overseas and local experience has indicated that these settings can seed large clusters of infected persons. Among such activities: religious services and congregations, cultural venues such as art galleries, libraries, museums, large-scale events and venues, and entertainment venues such as bars, nightclubs, karaoke outlets, cinemas, theatres, and other indoor and outdoor attractions.
For these activities above, the relevant government agencies will be engaging businesses and organizations on how they might resume safely, with the necessary safe management measures and safeguards needed.
“Subject to the appropriate measures being in place, we will discuss with these entities the timing of when they can resume activities in Phase Two.”
Under Phase Two, masks will remain compulsory whenever outside one’s home. Small-group social gatherings of up to five persons will be allowed. Within the home, households may receive up to five visitors per day.
As seniors are especially vulnerable, they should continue to exercise extra caution and stay at home as much as possible. We recognize that this can be challenging, especially for seniors with care and/or psychosocial needs.
To better support them and their caregivers, more senior services and programs (e.g. senior care centres) will resume with the appropriate safe management measures in place. Some face-to-face social services for other vulnerable groups will resume with safe management measures.
As announced on 19 May 2020, schools will fully re-open from the end of June, while Institutes of Higher Learning will gradually increase the number of students back on campus at any one time for face-to-face learning.
“We have provided a broad overview of the timeline leading up to Phase Two and the likely easing of measures that will take place. Depending on the COVID-19 situation and our risk assessment, we will continue to ease measures (e.g. on the size of gatherings) gradually until we reach a new normal in Phase Three, a state in which the country expects to remain until an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is developed.”