With the significant decrease in community cases, more businesses will be allowed to gradually resume operations, starting with those that operate in settings with lower transmission risks, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post on Tuesday (19 May).
The economic sectors that are allowed to resume activities on 2 June – which is the Phase One resumption – include manufacturing and production, finance and insurance, wholesale trade (excluding retail storefronts), transport and storage, and professional services.
Mr Chan said that most of the manufacturing activities will be allowed to resume “full production” if they are able to implement the guidelines set for their sectors.
Noting that most offices will be able to reopen, he cautioned that face-to-face interactions among employees must be minimised unless the employees need to access specialised systems and equipment or fulfill legal requirements.
Mr Chan went on to suggest that employees who are able to work from home to continue doing so.
To ensure a safe environment for employees and customer, the Minister stated that it is mandatory for the companies to implement the necessary Safe Management Measures before resuming operations.
“This includes the use of proper contact tracing systems like SafeEntry, staggered work hours to avoid coinciding with peak hour travel, no cross deployment of staff and ensuring that employees do not socialise and congregate in groups at or outside the workplace,” he elaborated.
Stressing the importance of implementing safety measures, Mr Chan then urged the companies to “take these measures seriously”.
He explained, “Because if there is a flare up within the community, we will have to reintroduce measures that will be disruptive to our businesses and the economy.”
Meanwhile, businesses that are not included in the Phase One resumption – such as retail and F&B – Mr Chan noted that they ought to “actively prepare” for resumption in the next phase.
He hinted that some businesses will need to put in place additional measures, particularly those which interact closely with the public. “While others will need to develop new business models to operate safely.”
“Ultimately, our ability to allow more sectors to resume operations will depend on the overall infection control situation and the ability of our businesses to develop and implement the necessary measures soonest,” Mr Chan remarked.
In his post, he also acknowledged that the Government is aware of the challenges faced by the businesses during circuit breaker period, such as complete suspension of operations and reduction of manpower and capacities.
He then thanked the business owners for their cooperation and understanding of these “painful but necessary” measures in place.
“I want to assure our business community that we will continue to walk this journey together with them be it in terms of putting in place the necessary measures required, supporting them to tide over the short-term challenges or building the capabilities necessary to emerge stronger from COVID-19.
“As long as we work together as one, there is nothing we cannot overcome,” he concluded.
Refer to the infographic below for more info on the businesses and services that are subjected to gradual resumption of activities under the Phase 1 resumption.
Yesterday, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced that the country will proceed to exit the circuit breaker when it ends on 1 June as it sees the daily number of new community cases has declined significantly and the dormitory situation has stabilised.
The Government will resume economic and social activities safely over three phases through a controlled approach.
Economic activities that do not pose high risk of transmission will resume first, while social, economic, and entertainment activities that carry higher risk will remain closed.
The Taskforce also noted that Phase One of the re-opening plans will be implemented from 2 June.
“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,” it remarked.