All your questions about the latest circuit breaker measures, answered.
Life in 2020 is worlds apart from 2019. And the rest of the year could depend on how each of us play our part in the Covid-19 circuit breaker efforts to curb and contain the coronavirus. From 7 April to 1 June (extended from 4 May), stricter measures will be in place for safe-distancing, and all workplaces except those providing essential services will shutter.
Do take note that the circuit breaker will be lifted gradually as the government will reassess things to make the necessary adjustments. This is to prevent cases of community spread from rising, reduce risk of transmission among workers, and clamp down on new clusters.
What does that look like? How will you be affected? Read on for all the answers to your questions and keep tabs on this page for regular updates.
Can I leave the house?
We’re not on total lockdown, so yes, you can. But do stay home as much as possible and only head out alone for necessities or urgent medical needs. Take your gatherings online and limit your physical contact to the family members or people you live with.
In desperate need of fresh air? Outdoor exercise is okay, but don’t mingle with others and check the Safe Distance @ Parks website by NParks to find out which green spaces near your home are the quietest in real-time. Going to the mall for groceries or essentials? Visit SpaceOut to see where the crowds are, so you can leave home during off-peak hours.
Temperature screening will now be carried out at all supermarkets and malls, and visitors will have to provide their particulars for contact tracing.
When do I have to wear a mask?
Anytime you’re out, basically. The government has provided us with reusable masks, and for the sake of everyone’s health and safety, you must strap them on when you’re commuting on public transport, riding in private-hire cars or taxis, shopping at supermarkets and wet markets, or popping into malls, pharmacies and convenience stores. The only exceptions are when you’re engaging in strenuous exercise outdoors, but you have to put on your mask once you’re done.
Am I allowed to visit friends and relatives?
Unfortunately, no. Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) law that was passed in Parliament on 7 April, social events and gatherings are not allowed. This includes meet-ups with families, partners and friends who aren’t living together. Get-togethers in private homes and public spaces like HDB void decks and parks are no longer possible. That means you can only have social contact with the people living in your household. Anyone who is caught not abiding by the circuit breaker rules will get a fine of $300, even if you’re a first-time offender. Repeat offenders will face higher penalties.
What if I have to care for a loved one?
Exceptions to this law include emergencies, childcare providers, those who care for the disabled and elderly, and those who offer essential services (like home repairs). In cases like these, you can enter someone else’s home and allow them to enter yours. But if you’re just visiting your significant other or setting up a game night with your buddies in your home, that’s against the law.
Should I stock up on a month’s worth of food?
Nope. You’re concerned for your fam, we get it. But the government has emphasised that we have enough in our national stockpile and our food supply chain is ongoing, so there’s no need to hoard anything (not even toilet paper!). Plus, most food-related services will stay open. You can continue heading to supermarkets, convenience stores, and wholesale or wet markets for your fresh veggies and produce. Or just get your goods from online grocery stores.
However, there will be entry restrictions in four popular wet markets – Geylang Serai Market, Chong Pang Market and the markets at Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane and Block 505 Jurong West Street 52 – allowing people to enter only on alternate days. This is to help disperse the crowds that have been gathering at these places. The new system will be based on the last digit of your NRIC or FIN number, permitting entry on even or odd dates. The government is also looking at expanding these restrictions to other crowded areas such as supermarkets.
How are eateries affected?
Restaurants, hawker centres, coffee shops, caterers, food courts and cafes will be in operation. But they’ll only be available for takeaway or delivery, so don’t attempt to dine-in. If you’re doing a grab-and-go, try your best to bring your own clean containers and help with the sustainability movement.
From May 12, shops selling prepackaged snacks, desserts, potato chips, nuts, ice cream, cakes, pastries and more will be allowed to reopen. Home-based F&B businesses are also resuming operations, but with contactless delivery and safe distancing measures. Oh, and McD’s is back in the biz, but only for delivery and takeaway.
Standalone stores specialising in bubble tea, dessert drinks, alcohol, coffee, tea and fruit juice will remain closed, along with eateries in parks.
What else is considered “essential services”?
These include healthcare, social, banking and financial services, as well as those providing daily living necessities such as optician services (by appointment only). Under healthcare: Hospitals, GP clinics, polyclinics, dentists, TCM clinics (for retail products – from 12 May – and essential acupuncture treatments), community care services (like nursing homes), home medical services, and mental health services will be up and running. However, annual health screenings, aesthetics services, certain TCM treatments and cosmetic procedures such as botox will not. But blood donation platforms are open, if you’re keen on helping out with the fight against Covid-19.
Waste collection and disposal services will continue on as usual, along with warehouse and storage facilities, insurance, telecommunications, postal, funeral-related and landscaping services.
From 12 May, hair salons and barbers can operate once again, but only for haircuts that don’t take more than an hour. Retail laundry shops and pet supply stores will reopen as well.
What if something breaks down at home?
Don’t worry. If you need someone to repair your household appliances or electronic items, you’ll still be in good hands. Other services include plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, vehicle recovery and repair, and hardware stores.
Can I get around the city if I don’t have a car?
Yep, public transport, private-hire cars and taxis are still cruising the roads, so if you have an emergency, they’ve got you covered. Car owners can stop by petrol kiosks to fuel up. And Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges at all gantries will be suspended, since road traffic is expected to decline.
How about exercise?
Recreational facilities, sports centres, swimming pools, gyms, fitness studios, golf courses at country clubs and bowling centres are closed. Even those in your condo. Sports stadiums, all beaches and certain paths and bridges in parks (including the ones at MacRitchie TreeTop Walk, Henderson Waves and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park) are cordoned off, too. Plus, park facilities such as fitness corners, playgrounds, fishing areas, basketball courts and water play facilities are off limits. To discourage people from heading further afield to exercise in popular green spaces, all car parks in nature reserves, gardens and parks are closed.
Is shopping essential?
Sadly, no (though shopaholics may answer differently). Your retail therapy sessions will have to be virtual for the next month. But no worries, we’ve got you covered with a long list of online shops that offer free delivery.
Are staycations okay?
Sorry, but hotels are not accepting new guests during this “circuit breaker” period. Even in hotels housing individuals returning to Singapore and serving their stay-home notice, all recreational facilities will not be open.
What if I want to get something from the pharmacy or convenience store?
All outlets for Watsons, Guardian and 7-Eleven will be open. Just be sure to take proper precautionary measures when you’re out and about.
So… what else will be closed?
All schools. Nail salons and beauty treatment outlets. Bookstores and all 25 public libraries. Singapore Pools. Enrichment centres offering tuition lessons, music or dance classes, and sports training.
All museums and attractions, including wildlife parks (yes, even the Singapore Zoo) and the Science Centre. Marina Bay Sands will shut down its hotel and attractions (including the ArtScience Museum, shops, F&B outlets and casino) as well. Resorts World Sentosa will close Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Island, and its casino, too. However, some of its eateries will be open for takeaway and delivery.
The June holidays will be brought forward to 5 May, with lessons resuming on 2 June. Plus, there will be a mid-term break from 20 to 26 July. The adjustments will apply to all MOE kindergartens, primary, secondary and pre-university students.
How will I keep myself (and my fam) entertained for the next month?
Glad you asked, ‘cause we’ve got plenty of ideas!
- Watch plays and musicals online for free.
- Level up your cooking skills with DIY meal kits.
- Plan a virtual date with your other half.
- Shop the latest beauty products.
- Scroll through this list of 50 fun and free things to do online.
- Gather your friends for a virtual hangout.
- Make your own cocktails with recipes from local bars.
- Tune in to an entertaining podcast for crime stories, jokes and more.
- Try #quarantinebaking recipes.
- Get your dose of the warm fuzzies with feel-good flicks.
- Keep up with the kangaroos (and other animals) on livestreams.
- Boost your career with free online tools.
- Watch a home concert by one of your fave musicians.
- Have a house party for one with takeaway cocktails from some of the city’s best bars.
- Make your own smoothie for a natural immunity booster.
- Traverse the streets of popular cities virtually.
- Have fun with a mobile game app or two.
- Read a good book.
- Check out the top 10 video streaming services and lose yourself in a compelling TV series.
- Explore famous landmarks and museums online.
- Add a little cheer to your life with heartwarming stories that’ve emerged from the coronavirus crisis (and chip in to support local businesses).
- Keep tabs on our new Stay In section for everything you need to get through the Covid-19 life.
For more info on the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures in detail, check out this comprehensive list of essential services.