Circuit Breaker In Singapore: What You Need To Know

Singapore Introduces A Coronavirus ‘Circuit Breaker’: What You Need To Know

Singaporeans are advised to stay at home as much as possible.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to escalate in Singapore, the government announced new stricter measures, or colloquially known as ‘circuit breaker’, in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. Life in Singapore will come to a standstill beginning this week, from 7 April, as non-essential services close tentatively till 4 May. 

Here’s what you need to know about ‘circuit breaker’ measures that will be in place in the little red dot. 

1. Most workplaces to close

Image credit: Arlington Research

All non-essential businesses must stop operations at their workplaces. Companies able to conduct business operations while their employees work from home will be allowed to continue running; performing work by telecommuting from home.

Essential services (eg. supermarkets and delivery services) are allowed to continue operating from their premises with enhanced safe distancing measures implemented.

To know what constitute essential services for the circuit breaker, the full list can be found here

Also read: How to Work From Home Productively, Without Losing Your Sanity

2. Under circuit breaker measures, schools to shift to full home-based learning

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

All primary, secondary, Pre-University and Institute of Higher Learning students, including students from Special Education (SPED) schools, will shift to full Home-Based Learning (HBL) till 4 May 2020.

School-based mid-year exams will be cancelled but national examinations like the mid-year O- and A-level mother tongue exams, the PSLE and final-year exams will proceed as planned. 

Additionally, all pre-school and student care centres will be closed as well, but will provide limited services for children of parents who have to continue working and are unable to make alternative care arrangements. 

3. Food-related services to remain open

Image credit: Tiberiu Ana

When the new rules kick in on Tuesday, you can still enjoy your favourite food from the hawker centre but only if you dabao (takeaway) or call for delivery instead. The only change is that no dine-in is allowed.

All food and beverage outlets which include restaurants, hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts will remain open but only for takeaway. They can also offer delivery services.

Supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery retailers and wholesale and wet markets will remain open too. There is no reason to hoard food as the food supply chain will effectively ensure sufficient food for Singaporeans.

Bear in mind to keep a safe distance from others when purchasing daily necessities. Make sure to adhere to the prominent markings on the floor – even at the wet markets. 

4. Recreation venues, attractions to close

Image credit: Resorts World Sentosa

All attractions, theme parks, museums and casinos will be closed. For instance, Resorts World Singapore has temporarily suspended all its attractions which encompass Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Island and its casino.

5. Healthcare services to continue operating

All public and private hospitals remain open. Similarly, all general practitioner clinics, polyclinics, offsite specialist clinics and community hospitals will remain open too. 

However, aesthetics services, outpatient rehabilitation therapy, cataract surgery for stable cataract conditions and traditional Chinese medicine treatments such as acupuncture will not be available.

6. Public and point-to-point transport will continue to run 

Image credit: Kit Suman

Public transport and transport services like private-hire cars and taxis will continue to operate under this circuit breaker.

7. Most sports and recreation services will be closed 

Image credit: Thomas Park

Public swimming pools, public sports halls, private gyms and fitness studios will be shut, while public parks and SportSG’s 17 open-air stadiums will remain open.

You can still get your recommended amount of daily physical activity by walking or running around your neighbourhood or patronising the public parks and open-air stadiums. Make sure to head for uncrowded spaces and practise safe distancing when the area is thronging with residents.

8. Banking and financial services will continue to be open

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Banking services will be available through online channels, ATMs and bank branches, as will services like insurance broking. 

Just make sure to call ahead before making your way to a bank as some branches may be shut or may have changed their operating hours.

9. Hairdressing and barber services to remain open

Image credit: Guilherme Petri

Hair salons and barber services will be open but only to provide simple haircuts. Grooming services such as colouring of hair and perming which is time-consuming will not be allowed. 

10. Stay at home with the new circuit breaker measures

Image credit: Patrick Perkins

With a slew of measures in place in this circuit breaker, the advice for Singaporeans is to stay at home as much as possible with the exceptions of buying daily necessities or receiving urgent medical attention. Social contact should be limited to immediate family members living under the same roof at this moment. Refrain moving from one place to another.

To pre-empt mounting infections of COVID-19, it will require the collective effort of every Singaporean. Do your part and take the safe-distancing measures seriously!

Also read: Singapore Travel Ban In Effect For All Short-Term Visitors

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Ifah Sakinah
Ifah Sakinah

Sakinah has a discerning palate and an innate desire to satisfy her inner curiosity. While she hasn't been everywhere, it's definitely on her list.