Singapore’s lockdown exit plan shows long way to go for bars, cinemas

Closed retail stores at Jem shopping center. Photo: Coconuts
Closed retail stores at Jem shopping center. Photo: Coconuts

Singapore will begin lifting COVID-19 measures starting June 2 when its “circuit breaker” lockdown formally expires. 

The country’s COVID-19 task force yesterday announced three phases to relaxing most of the rules put in place, a process which could stretch several months and be halted if new infections spike. Bars, cinemas, and nightclubs, which were some of the first businesses ordered shut, will be among the last to resume operations. 

However, Singapore will not completely return to its pre-pandemic days until there is a COVID-19 vaccine or effective treatment, the task force said.  

The exit plan was revealed as infections at migrant worker dormitories, where thousands have been stricken, were said to have “stabilised,” while cases outside of dorms have “declined significantly.”

On Tuesday, the city-state announced another 451 new cases, 450 of which were found in worker dorms. Total confirmed infections are now 28,794 since the outbreak began spreading in January. The official death toll stands at 22, not counting the deaths of at least six people with COVID-19 not directly attributed to the disease. 

Phase 1: Dye that hair, service that aircon

The COVID-19 taskforce said Singapore will lift most of its “circuit breaker” measures in three phases, which it has branded “safe reopening, “safe transition,” and “safe nation.”

In the first phase, the manufacturing sector will be allowed to resume and more offices can reopen with safe-distancing measures in place. Businesses that have been able to operate via telecommuting will have to continue doing so. 

Those in badly need of a hair color touchup can look forward to getting that done starting June 2 as hair salons and barbers will be allowed to offer services beyond cutting. 

Other services allowed to resume:

  • Motor vehicle servicing, aircon servicing, basic pet services, school bookshops and retail shops selling school uniforms. 
  • Home-based businesses that operate using a delivery or collection.

Children and grandchildren can visit their parents and grandparents, limited to two visitors a day per household. 

Students who are graduating this year can return to school daily. Pre-schools will reopen fully on June 10. 

Places of worship may reopen but for private worship only. Marriage ceremonies can take place in person with up to 10 attendees. 

Phase 2: Back to the gym, dining out, shopping

Dine-in and retail food outlets, gyms and fitness studios, as well as tuition and enrichment centers, will gradually be allowed to resume operations. Small social gatherings will be allowed and all students will return to school. 

Businesses able to operate via telecommuting should still continue to do so. 

Phase 3: Bars, cinemas finally reopen

Bars, cinemas, and nightclubs, which were some of the first businesses ordered to shut due to COVID-19, will only be allowed to reopen during the third phase when social, cultural, religious, and business gatherings or events are expected to resume. 

The task force said that places such as bars and movie theatres pose “significant crowd management risk in an enclosed space.” 

Spas and massage parlors, businesses said to involve “significant prolonged close contact,” will also reopen. 

The elderly can also resume day-to-day activities while practicing safe distancing measures and avoiding peak travel times, crowded places, and large groups. 

 

Other stories to check out:

Singapore bars, cinemas, nightclubs to close till end-April due to COVID-19
Booze ban hits Robertson Quay after carousing crowds defy rules (Photos)

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