National Development Minister Lawrence Wong posted on his Facebook page yesterday (17 May) regarding resuming activities in a “controlled manner”.
Acknowledging that the circuit breaker is coming to an end, Mr Wong revealed that the Government is preparing for the “next phase” and considering what activities can resume in a safe manner.
He also warned that life will not “simply” return to what it was like before the circuit breaker. Therefore, the Government will allow activities to resume in a “very careful” and “calibrated” manner.
Mr Wong then gave an example of how the construction sector will reopen. He described that the Government plans to re-start with a few projects and “insist on very tight end-to-end safeguards for these projects”.
“For example, in the construction sector, we will only re-start with a few projects and insist on very tight end-to-end safeguards for these projects.”
He went on to detail that the safeguards include requiring all workers involved in a project to be housed together instead of multiple dormitories. He added that safe distancing measures will be implemented at work sites, and that there would be periodic testing of the workers which would be carried out at a two-week interval.
“The safeguards include requiring all the workers involved in a project to be housed together (instead of being at multiple dormitories); safe distancing measures at the work sites; and periodic testing of the workers (at 2 week intervals).”
Subsequently, Mr Wong revealed that the Government is only expecting 5 per cent of the construction workforce to work on these projects, adding that it will be scaling up over time as the industry gains confidence and experience with the measures.
“We expect only about 5% of the construction workforce to work on these projects, and will scale up over time as the industry gains confidence and experience with the measures.”
Other than the construction sector, he noted that the same calibrated approach will be planned to be applied to other workforce, schools, as well as social settings.
Mr Wong addressed that the nation will not expect a 100 per cent resumption of activities after 1 June – the date that the circuit breaker was set to end. He also advised citizens to be fully prepared as the current restrictions and measures will continue for some time.
“On the contrary, be fully prepared that many of the current restrictions and measures we have today will continue for some time, so as to keep our family members and loved ones safe.”
To allow Singapore to have a “controlled” and “phased” exit from the circuit breaker, he said that it will require patience and discipline. He concluded his post by urging Singaporeans to do their part to contain the virus so that the outbreak does not occur again.
“A controlled and phased exit from the circuit breaker will require patience and discipline from all of us. We must all do our part to control the spread of the virus and ensure that it does not flare up again.”
Following the announcement that the construction sector will gradually resume operations, there is a concern in regards to a clear indication and guide for other businesses as to when they get to reopen.
Seeing how the Government kept warning and reminding Singaporeans that life will not “go back to normal” even after the circuit breaker ends, should all businesses be given a heads-up and a clear guide for what will be deemed as the “new” normal?
Apart from the unclear signs for business owners to resume their livelihood, many are anxious to proceed with investments and changes due to the uncertainties.