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06 Apr 2020 04:00 PM 31 May 2020 04:00 PMThings you need to know about Singapore's 'circuit breaker' measures
What you can and can't do from April 7 till June 1
On Friday, April 3, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave new meaning to the phrase 'circuit breaker'. To most people, it refers to a safety device that stops the flow of current in an electric circuit, but to people living in Singapore, it means hunkering down at home in order to break the chain of transmissions of Covid-19 in the community.
The circuit breaker was meant to last till May 4, but in April 21, PM Lee addressed the nation once more, extending the circuit breaker measures till June 1. With new rules in place, we know that you have even more questions about what can and can't be done in Singapore. Let us help clear the air and break down the restrictions for you.
When does this start and end?
Circuit breaker measures start on April 7 and now end on June 1. It was initially supposed to end on May 4, but due to a rising number of community cases, the CB has been extended.
Hopefully, if we all play our part and stay home, we might be able to go back to work, visit friends and dine in at restaurants again in June. But this can only happen if we all play a part to stay in for the next month or so and flatten the curve.
Am I allowed to leave the house?
Please stay home as much as possible. You should only go out for daily essentials like takeout or groceries. You can also leave the house to seek medical attention or other services like banking or the mailing of items but do try to run your errands as quickly as possible.
It is now compulsory to wear a mask if you're out – the only exception is if you're under two years old or if you're doing strenuous exercises like running. You should also carry out these tasks alone to reduce the amount of family movement
How about for some fresh air?
Recreational activities like going for a walk, run or a bike ride around your neighbourhood are permitted. However, you have to do so alone. As of April 10, all sports stadiums are closed because people continued to flout rules and came together to exercise. Popular beaches such as East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park, Pasir Ris Park, Punggol Point Park, Sembawang Park and West Coast Park are also closed.
If you live near a park, this real-time map produced by NParks allows you to check how crowded public parks are before heading down.
Can I visit family and friends?
As of April 7, private social gatherings of any size, in homes or public spaces, are banned under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill. If your family lives in the same household as you, then yes, you can "visit" them because you stay together. But beyond that, you shouldn't be hopping from flat to flat to check in and see how your family and friends are doing.
Don't organise social gatherings with family or friends, especially if this includes grandparents and those who are more at risk. However, you can help elderly parents or grandparents above 60 years old with their daily needs if necessary. You are also not allowed to drop off your children at their grandparent's place.
However, you can still keep in contact with family and friends through the wonders of technology. Organise virtual meetups on Google Hangouts, Zoom or even Houseparty. Here's a handy guide on how to use it to call friends and even play games like Heads Up! on the app. You can also put a smile on their faces by ordering them a meal or some flowers.
How about my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?
Sorry, if you're not currently living with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner then you can't visit them. Try organising an online date to spend quality time together.
Single? Download some dating apps and start swiping – it might be a refreshing change to take the time and get to know someone better before meeting IRL. Plus if you can't carry on a conversation till June then they probably aren't the one anyway.
What if I break the rules?
Well, instead of getting a written warning, you'll instantly be fined $300 if you're caught by flouting safe distancing rules such as not lining up at least 1m away from the people around you. There are more than 3,100 enforcement officers or safe distancing ambassadors currently patrolling the island. Repeat offenders face stiffer penalties including prosecution in court. You could also be fined up to $10,000 and face imprisonment for holding private or public social gatherings.
How can I still get food and drinks from my favourite venues?
Food and beverage outlets like restaurants, hawker centres, coffeeshops and food courts are still open for takeaway and some also offer delivery options.
Check out our list of restaurants offering takeaway and delivery, bars with takeaway bottled cocktails and hawkers that are now offering delivery. These lists are constantly being updated so keep them bookmarked for more food and drink inspiration.
Unfortunately, McDonald's remains closed for the foreseeable future, but you can get burgers delivered from these alternatives instead.
What about bubble tea???
As of April 21, all "less critical" services must shut including standalone stores that sell only beverages, packaged sweets, confectionaries, or desserts.
This means kiosks selling bubble tea, fruit juices, soya milk and smoothies; stores that predominantly sell liquor, wine and beer; snack shops that retail cheeses, packaged snacks, bak kwa and other loose snacks; as well as dessert shops that sell ice cream, yoghurt, cakes, cupcakes, and other confectionaries will be closed till June 1.
However, those located in hawker centres, food courts, and coffeeshops may continue to operate.
Can I still go shopping?
If it's for essential services, sure. If it's for a new outfit so that you look cute in your Work From Home Zoom call, then no, unless you're shopping online. You can shop at supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery retailers and wholesale, hardware stores and wet markets.
However, entry to certain markets and wet markets are now restricted through an odd-even date system based on NRIC numbers. Check your IC number – if it ends with an odd number you can only shop on odd calendar days and vice versa for ICs that end in an even number.
Optometry services are now available by appointment only and pet supply stores are closed although you can still get pet food delivered online.
However, most retail stores that sell clothes like Zara, electronics like Challenger, furniture like Courts and Ikea and even department stores like Robinsons and Tangs have temporarily closed. You can still get some retail therapy done at these local online shopping sites.
Can I still get a haircut?
From April 22, all hair salons and barbers have to close. Basic haircutting services were previously allowed but that has now been suspended.
Beauty therapists, nail salons, tattoo parlours, massage parlours (excluding health-related services) are temporarily suspended.
Is there anything I can do? I'm going mad!
There are still plenty of things you can do at home. Check out our ongoing list of things to do this week including live-streams and DJ sets you can party to at home, online classes where you can pick up a new skill and other ideas on how you can make the most of the situation and help the community. If you're the active sort, tune in to online workouts from some of the gyms and studios in Singapore.
Can I go on vacation?
Just don't. Defer all non-essential travel – most of the cities have closed their borders anyway, and if you do manage to get a plane ticket out of Singapore, you'll most likely spend your entire time on lockdown instead of doing what travellers enjoy – sightseeing, eating, drinking and having fun in general. The world, unfortunately, has to wait. You'll also be required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice if you're flying into Singapore.
Okay, how about a staycation?
Sorry, not allowed either. Hotels are not allowed to receive new guests during this time while other hotels are being used as space spaces for those returning to Singapore to serve their Stay-Home Notice. I don't know about you, but the idea of someone in the room next to you being ill isn't exactly my idea of a relaxing holiday.
The Integrated Resorts like Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa have also announced temporary closures in case you were thinking of taking the family out to Universal Studios Singapore or the SEA Aquarium. Other attractions around the city have shut their doors too.
How can I stay safe?
If you're staying at home as much as possible, I'd say you're doing a bang-up job so far. The government has also advised that should you leave the house, be sure to wear a face mask to keep your droplets to yourself. This doesn't just protect you but those around you. Coupled with good hygiene practices and washing your hands for 20 seconds at the minimum as regularly as you can, you should be on the right path. Also, don't touch your face!
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How can I help those around me?
The most heartening thing about this situation has been the community support and ground-up efforts we've seen happening around the nation and even online on social media. People are coming up with movements, starting petitions, creating crowd-sourced spreadsheets and more to keep us all informed. We've put together some ways you can help the community get through this together, charities to support if you can and places to donate goods to those that need them more. We're all in this together and I'm sure we'll come out of this stronger, Singapore.