‘Circuit Breaker’ Lifting On 1 Jun Isn’t The End Of Safe Distancing Measures Which May Last Much Longer

The moment authorities confirmed the lifting of ‘Circuit Breaker’ measures for 1 Jun yesterday (19 May), a tangible weight was briefly lifted off Singapore residents’ chests.

But we’re in a pandemic after all, and such good news surely comes with exceptions.

What many may not realise is that the end isn’t truly the end. While certain activities will gradually resume, the many restrictions spell a ‘new normal’ we have no choice but to adjust to.

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We try to break down the phases for you, so you can get a sense of what to expect.

Phase 1: only leave home for essential activities

In an update yesterday (19 May), the Ministry of Health (MOH) detailed how “Safe Re-opening” will commence on 2 Jun, after ‘Circuit Breaker’ ends.

Much like what we’ve been doing so far, individuals should only leave home for essential activities. Wearing a mask in public is of course mandatory.

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The tangible changes will be:

  • Select businesses, manufacturing companies & offices can re-open, subject to strict guidelines. Work-from-home should still be the top choice as far as possible.
  • Parents/grandparents can receive max 2 visitors/day, both from the same household. They can also help with childcare.
  • In-person marriage solemnisations can occur, but with no more than 10 people present.
  • Funerals & wakes can also go ahead, with the same rule.
  • Places of worship to allow private worship for 5 people from the same household.
  • Pre-schools to gradually re-open, other schools to alternate student attendance between Home-Based Learning (HBL) & classroom lessons. Graduating primary & secondary cohorts to report daily.

Measures that remain in place include:

  • No dining in at F&B outlets
  • Most retail outlets & personal services to remain closed
  • Sports & recreation facilities remain closed
  • No social gatherings or other non-essential activities
  • No CCAs, enrichment activities & tuition

Minor exceptions like barbers and schools reopening aside, we really won’t be seeing very drastic changes on 2 Jun, and perhaps for good reason.

MOH emphasises the need to be cautious at this stage, as risk of community transmission is still high.

Phase 2: social activities in small groups

Depending on whether transmission rates stay under control, we may or may not be able to resume more activities.

If numbers stay low for a few weeks, we can expect looser restrictions on activities that were prohibited in Phase 1. That means F&B dine-ins, sports facilities and shops can re-open, but with safety measures in place.

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Students will also be physically reporting to school more regularly.

Phase 3: ‘new normal’ of small gatherings & safe distancing

Even after the situation stabilises so we can enter Phase 3, measures won’t go away entirely. Though gatherings can happen, crowd sizes will have to be small to avoid large infection clusters.

So we wouldn’t bet on big events like concerts happening anytime in the near future.

While entertainment venues like cinemas, bars and nightclubs can re-open, safe distancing measures have to be enforced, so you’d likely have to bask in the ambience a metre away from everyone around you.

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These measures will remain until an effective Covid-19 treatment or vaccine is available, a time frame experts have yet to be able to determine.

Progressive easing of ‘Circuit Breaker’ measures for everyone’s safety

The delay in resuming life as we knew it may be frustrating for many, but we have to understand that we’re dealing with an unfamiliar pandemic.

As authorities attempt to gain control over the situation, let’s appreciate the gradual resumption of activities so we get to at least enjoy the small pleasures.

If everyone adheres to the rules, hopefully we can reach the final phase in no time. And beyond that, let’s hope an effective treatment can be found soon, so we can see the end to all this once and for all.

Featured image adapted from Daily Sabah.