Singapore Begins Phase 2 of Reopening: Safe Transition
- Singapore began Phase 2 of reopening its economy from June 19, allowing more businesses to resume activities.
- Department stores, retail outlets, and F&B establishments have been permitted to allow dine-in customers.
- Businesses that are permitted to open have to implement strict health measures, such as social distancing and frequent cleaning.
On June 19, 2020, Singapore began its Phase 2 of reopening its economy and permitted more business activities to resume. Under this phase, the government will also expand its COVID-19 testing strategy as well as utilize more digital tools to support contact tracing.
Singapore is reopening its economy in three phases (Phase 1,2, and 3) with Phase 1 beginning on June 2. Most businesses and the manufacturing sector were allowed to restart operations during this phase; however, strict health protocols must be implemented, which included the wearing of masks and social distancing.The country has recorded over 42,000 infections, the second-highest in ASEAN behind Indonesia as of June 22, although 90 percent of cases originated from migrant worker dormitories, which were segregated from the local population. The number of cases in the community has decreased from an average of eight per day to four per day in the past week.
Health protocols apply
Under Phase 2, retail businesses, dine-in food and beverage (F&B) outlets, parks and sports facilities, and personal health and wellness services are some of the activities being allowed to resume.
Retail and F&B outlets
Department stores, retail outlets, and food and beverage (F&B) establishments have been permitted to open. F&B businesses can also accommodate dine-in customers although there are strict health protocols consumers must adhere to. These establishments are limited to no more than five per table and retail outlets must have safe distancing measures in place.
The sale of liquor and its consumption must cease by 22:30 and live music, TV, and video screenings are not allowed in these establishments.
Malls and large or standalone retail outlets are subject to occupancy limits and frequent cleaning and disinfection. Malls and large stores that have a gross floor area (GFA) of more than 930 sqm are limited to one person per 10 sqm of GFA. All other stores do not have to adhere to this requirement provided that visitors can keep one meter apart or the store allows groups of customers of up to five people at one time.
Furthermore, malls and stores with a GFA greater than 930 sqm must implement the SafeEntry protocol for customers. Visitors can download the SafeEntry app, which is a digital national check-in system. Visitors going through any entry or exit points will have to use the app to check-in and out by scanning the QR code. In addition to the app, visitors can use the barcodes on their national ID cards, driver licenses, and student cards, among others.
Temperature checks and the removal of product testers, such as cosmetics and food samples, will also be the new normal.
Other physical retail businesses that can open include:
- Beauty services;
- Nail salons;
- Manicure stations; and
- Books and stationery stores.
These businesses will have their own specific health protocols that customers should adhere to.
Parks, sports facilities
Playgrounds, beaches, sports facilities, and recreational activities have been allowed to resume. Businesses have been exploring slot bookings to prevent any intermingling groups.
Sport Singapore, the government body responsible for developing the country’s sports culture has offered guidelines on the health protocols for the different types of sporting activities.
Singles and double training sessions are permitted whereas group training will be limited to five people with no inter-mixing between groups. Combat sports will be modified so that there are no prolonged body contacts.
For watersports, pool lanes are limited to five swimmers and groups have to be separated by at least three meters.
Receiving visitors at home
Gatherings of up to five people are allowed and those staying at home can receive up to five visitors per day. Vulnerable members of society, like senior citizens, are advised to stay at home as much as possible.
Activities that can resume but with special rules
All students will return to school from June 29, 2020, while institutes of higher learning (IHLs) will gradually increase the number of students on campuses for face-to-face learning.
All students and staff will undergo temperature and visual screenings and those who are unwell or have household members under quarantine are required to stay away from school.
IHLs will progressively allow up to 50 students per class but practical and lab sessions are allowed to continue. Any large-scale orientation activities and lectures are still not permitted.
What will remain closed?
Religious services/congregations will remain largely not permitted, although mosques will reopen from June 26 for Friday prayers, with prayer spaces limited to 50 for each mosque. Moreover, congregants must book a slot online developed by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, which will open from 9am on June 24. The slots are given on a first-come-first-served basis.
Libraries and museums will reopen progressively whereas large-scale events, such as concerts, exhibitions, and conferences will continue to remain closed.
Entertainment venues from bars to cinemas will also continue to remain closed.