On Tuesday (7 April), art institutions all over Singapore have been closed as the Government gears up to combat the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Through strict social distancing measures, the country has been able to flatten the curve of the pandemic without resorting to nationwide lockdown. However, on Friday (3 April), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the Government will be more aggressive in its approach to fight COVID-19.
Starting from 7 April, schools, museums, and non-essential businesses must be shut down for a time period of at least a month.
Several museums have been shut down, including the ArtScience Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum, after their workers were tested positive for COVID-19. Other institutions that have been shut include the Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art, the Singapore National Museum, and the National Gallery of Singapore.
The Government has also ordered all entertainment venues to be shut down on 24 March. Before the order for closure came, the number of visitors admitted was limited and public events were cancelled by museums as a means of crowd control.
Last Friday, the number of infected cases spiked to a total of 1,114 individuals, which spurred this change in strategy by the Government.
PM Lee stressed, “We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to pre-empt escalating infections.”
Reuters reported that people went into panic-buying as they emptied supermarket shelves, although grocery stores will remain in operation as they are essential businesses.
Following the footsteps of institutions in other countries, schools, and museums will provide exhibitions and classes online.
According to ArtAsiaPacific, an initiative named #GalleryAnywhere has been introduced by the National Gallery of Singapore. Through the #GalleryAnywhere initiative, the public now has access to the museum’s collection and related scholarship.