When Singapore’s circuit breaker period ends on June 1, more businesses and activities will be progressively allowed.
On Tuesday, the Government said there will be three phases in the reopening.
Phase one, from June 2, will last for at least four weeks as some restrictions are eased.
Phase two will last several months as even more measures are lifted. This will lead to phase three, which will be the “new normal” until a vaccine or treatment is found for Covid-19.
The Straits Times answers some questions about what you can do from June 2, when the first phase begins. Government agencies say some details are being ironed out. You can also send your questions to [email protected] .
Q If I have been telecommuting for work, do I have to return to the office from June 2?
A Companies must adopt telecommuting to the maximum extent. Employees who have been working from home so far should continue to do so.
They should go into the office only when the employer can demonstrate that it is necessary, such as to access specialised systems or equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to complete a contract or transaction that is legally required to be completed in person and on site.
Q If I have not been able to telecommute for work during the circuit breaker, can I return to my workplace from June 2?
A You can return to the workplace if your company is on the list of businesses permitted to resume operations from June 2, and if your employer has put safe management measures in place.
Your employer must also demonstrate the business or operational reasons why you are unable to work from home despite reviewing and redesigning work processes.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) inspectors will assess the efforts put in by companies to implement work-from-home arrangements, based on whether it is practical for workers to work from home, given the nature of their jobs.
Q What can I do if my employer has told me I need to return to the workplace, even though I have been telecommuting for work during the circuit breaker?
A Employees must telecommute where possible. They can report workplace safety and health issues to MOM via the SnapSafe mobile application.
Q Which businesses that were previously shut can now reopen from June 2, and which cannot?
A School bookshops and retail shops selling school uniforms can resume activities.
Selected services, including motor vehicle servicing, air-conditioner servicing, basic pet services and full hairdressing services, can also resume.
Businesses that still cannot resume include bars, pubs, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas. They are deemed higher-risk because they draw crowds in an enclosed space.
To manage the risks of transmission, most retail outlets will have to remain closed until further notice. Department stores will remain shut.
Q Can I swim in a public pool, play badminton, go to a playground or book a barbecue pit in my Housing Board estate?
A No. Such sports and outdoor recreational facilities in HDB estates will continue to remain closed to the public. They will likely be able to reopen only in phase two, at least four weeks away.
Similarly, tennis courts, pools and other recreational facilities in condominiums remain closed. So will private gyms.
Q Can I cycle, jog, or exercise with other household members from June 2?
A The authorities will be giving more details on this in about a week.
Q Can I visit the library?
A No. All libraries will remain closed and their on-site services such as book drops and reservation lockers will continue to be unavailable. You will not be fined if you have not returned material that is due. You will have three weeks after libraries eventually reopen to do so.
Q Will I be able to get a facial, thread my eyebrows, or go for a manicure from June 2?
A No, these services remain closed. Beauty salons may continue to sell products online and deliver them to customers.
However, the good news is that hair salons will be able to offer colouring and chemical treatments from June 2.
Q Will foot reflexology services resume?
A No, foot reflexology services will not be allowed in phase one.
Q Can I visit a vehicle showroom?
A No. Car showrooms will remain closed and you still cannot test-drive a car. But motor companies can continue to sell vehicles online and deliver them to customers.
Motor workshop services, however, will be allowed to reopen and resume services. Currently, they can tend to only emergency cases.
Q Can my freelance cleaner or part-time maid come to my house?
A No. Such home-based cleaning services are not allowed to resume.
Q Can I view a showflat?
A No. Property viewings still cannot be conducted in person. But you can do so virtually.
As for property agents, while they still cannot meet clients face to face, they can do so where the clients’ physical presence is legally required to complete a transaction. The meeting must take place in the office of the real estate company.
Q Can I start renovation works on my new home?
A All construction work, including home renovation, will need approval from the Building and Construction Authority before they can restart. Priority will be given to projects that had started before the circuit breaker and were suspended.
New renovation works will depend on factors such as whether the renovation contractor has sent its workers to be tested for Covid-19. More details will be announced later this week.
Q Can students wear a face shield instead of a face mask when they go back to school?
A Yes, they can choose between a face shield and a face mask.
Q Can private home tuition resume?
A No. Just as tuition and enrichment centres remain closed, face-to-face lessons by private tutors will remain suspended in phase one. Tutors and students can continue with online classes.
Food and drinks
Q Can I buy bubble tea from a retail shop?
A No. Outlets selling predominantly beverages, such as alcohol and bubble tea, are still not allowed to reopen. Food and beverage outlets, food caterers and canteens are permitted to open, but can provide only takeaway and delivery options.
Q Are money changers allowed to reopen?
A It depends. Applications to resume business will be approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on a case-by-case basis.
This depends on whether a money changer is able to restrict the number of staff on site to ensure safe distancing, and whether it can implement safe management measures at its outlets.
Q Can maid agencies reopen?
A No. Maid agencies are not allowed to reopen their physical outlets. They can continue to operate online.
Q Will shops selling health products such as vitamins and supplements be allowed to reopen?
A No. To manage the risks of transmission, most retail outlets, including those selling health supplements, will have to stay closed until further notice. They may continue to sell their products online and fulfil the orders through delivery.
Q Will commercial visa application centres reopen?
A No. They cannot reopen their physical outlets but can continue to operate remotely.
Q Can I meet my insurance agent?
A No. Insurance agents still cannot have face-to-face meetings with clients, except where the physical presence of the client is legally required to complete transactions. These meetings must take place in the office of the insurer.
Q Can I send my pet to be groomed?
A Yes, basic grooming, animal physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for pets can restart on June 2.
But there will be restrictions. Grooming, for instance, includes the maintenance of skin and fur, teeth brushing, emptying of anal glands and medicated baths. It excludes cosmetic styling of pets’ fur and spa baths.
If you are taking your pet for physiotherapy or rehabilitation, you will need a referral from a vet.
All services must be by appointment. Non-essential services such as pet-sitting, daycare for animals, walking, boarding and the sale of pets will remain prohibited.
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