The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has assessed the situation and decided to exit the Circuit Breaker when it ends on 1 June 2020 as the daily number of new community cases has declined significantly and the dormitory situation has stabilised.
While the taskforce states that there will likely be a rise in new community cases with more activities and interactions, it emphasis that it is the ability to detect and contain these cases quickly, and prevent large clusters from forming which is more critical.
It reminds people that the re-opening plans will not be a return to life before COVID-19.
“We must get used to a new normal, with the widespread adoption of safe management measures and technology so we can carry out our daily activities safely.” said the Taskforce.
There will be a controlled approach to resume activities safely over three phases. Phase One of the re-opening plans will be implemented from 2 June 2020.
Economic activities that do not pose high risk of transmission will be first resumed while social, economic and entertainment activities that carry higher risk will remain closed.
Reopening of businesses
Most manufacturing companies can resume full production, subject to the issued guidelines set for the manufacturing sector. Most offices can also re-open, but with tele-commuting adopted to the maximum extent. Employers must put in place and enforce safe management measures at the workplace, and employees must adhere strictly to them.
Checks will be conducted. Businesses whose employers do not provide a safe workplace, or whose workers do not adhere to safe management measures, will have to close their workplaces.
Most retail outlets and other personal services will not re-open in Phase One. Dining in at F&B outlets will continue to be disallowed. Only selected services, namely, motor vehicle servicing, aircon servicing, basic pet services, school bookshops and retail shops selling school uniforms, will be allowed to resume.
Hairdressers and barbers will also be allowed to resume offering all hairdressing services, beyond basic haircut services. All home-based businesses that operate using a delivery/ collection model will also be allowed to resume.
Businesses in this list do not need to apply for exemption before resuming operations as Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will grant these businesses a class exemption to resume business. However, businesses must submit their manpower details via the GoBusiness portal within two weeks of the date of resumption of operations.
Each household will be allowed to visit their parents or grandparents staying elsewhere. As part of this policy, dropping off children at parents’ and grandparents’ homes for childcare will also be allowed, subject to the same limit of two visitors from the same visiting household per day.
This is on top of the existing provisions for informal childcare arrangements for essential workers.
Marriage solemnisations will be allowed to take place in-person again, involving up to 10 persons.
Places of worship can re-open for private worship, with up to 5 members of the same household praying together at any one time. Families can continue to gather for wakes and funerals, with no more than 10 persons at any one time.
Other non-essential activities and social gatherings will remain prohibited.
Sports and recreation facilities will remain closed.
Resumption of school activities
Preschools will gradually re-open by levels from 2 June 2020, with full resumption by 10 June 2020.
Students from graduating cohorts at primary and secondary levels will attend school daily, while other cohorts will rotate weekly, alternating between Home-Based Learning (HBL) and returning to school for lessons.
Junior Colleges and Millennia Institute will arrange to have half of their students back in school at any one time.
Students in the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) whose terms are in session will be able to return to campus for practical and lab-based sessions, with lectures remaining online.
All staff and students will be required to wear masks or face shields when in school or on campus.
Further details will be provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the respective educational institutions.
Co-Curricular Activities, enrichment activities and tuition will not resume as they encourage mingling across classes and schools. Student Care Centres will fully re-open on 2 June 2020, along with the reopening of schools.
Resumption of medical services
Healthcare services such as specialist outpatient services, medical procedures, allied health services, community-based services, and chronic disease management will resume, prioritised by healthcare providers based on medical necessity and available capacity while maintaining appropriate safe distancing and precautionary measures.
Some examples include surgeries for advanced cataracts, joint surgeries for patients with severe impairment, cancer screening and surveillance services including scopes for high-risk groups, ongoing dental procedures with guidance to minimise aerosol-generation, and diabetic foot screening.
Preventive health services, such as flu vaccinations, will recommence.
Complementary healthcare services will resume for one-to-one sessions and by appointment, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) needle acupuncture will be allowed for all conditions.
The current measures limiting the scope of senior services and senior-centric activities will remain. However, Senior Activity Centres will gradually resume some activities in a safe and controlled manner, to address the psychosocial well-being of seniors with little or no social support.
Community-based centre services for persons with disabilities will also gradually re-open to serve those who need the services, with safe distancing measures in place.
The Taskforce will monitor the daily infection rates which are expected to rise with increased activity in Phase One.
If the community transmission rates remain low and stable over the subsequent few weeks, and the dormitory situation remains under control, then into Phase Two where more firms and businesses, starting with F&B dine-in and retail outlets, gyms and fitness studios, and tuition and enrichment centres, will gradually be allowed to re-open. Schools will gradually have all students to return for face to face learning and Sports, recreation and outdoor facilities will also start to re-open.
As for Phase Three, the Taskforce states that this would require an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is developed. Social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events would be resumed. Seniors would also be able to resume day-to-day activities while practising safe distancing measures and avoiding peak period travel, crowded places and large groups. Services and activities that involve significant prolonged close contact (e.g. spas and massages) or significant crowd management risk in an enclosed space (e.g. cinemas, theatres, bars, pubs and nightclubs) would also have been allowed to re-open, subject to their ability to implement strict safe management measures effectively.