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COVID-19: What Businesses Should Expect After Circuit Breaker Period ends on 1st June 2020
The day we have all been waiting for is finally arriving - 2nd June 2020. More businesses will be able to resume operations in a phased manner from 2nd June onwards, as “Circuit Breaker” restrictions are being eased gradually. However, as we all know, it will be difficult for businesses to be operating like how it used to be before the Covid-19 situation. It is also expected that most people will continue to work from home. (Remember to apply for the Enhanced Work Life Grant if you are going to continue with Flexi-Work Arrangements for your employees after the “Circuit Breaker” period.)
The economy will reopen gradually in three phases after the 2nd June - Phase 1 “Safe reopening”, Phase 2 “Safe transition” and Phase 3 “Safe nation”.
Phase 1 starts from 2nd June onwards, and will take at least four weeks. Businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks and controlled environment, such as manufacturing and production facilities in the semiconductor, medical technology and aerospace sectors, wholesale trade and finance companies, will be able to resume activities. Some consumer services can resume too, for eg. Hairdresser and barbers can provide all hairdressing services; and motor vehicle servicing, air-con servicing and basic pet services are allowed too. Places of worship will be allowed to reopen too, but only for private worship.
Unfortunately, retail shops and dining in are still not allowed. All retail outlets must remain closed until further notice, other than those that have given approval to operate.
Businesses that are allowed to operate will also have to ensure that health and safety measures are in place, such as staggered work hours, safe distancing and SafeEntry implementation. Submission of information of workers who are working on-site will be required via the GoBusiness portal within two weeks after resuming operations.
In this first phase, people should continue to wear masks when they leave the house, and only go out for essential services. If community transmission rates remain low and stable in this phase, then Singapore will move into the second phase.
Phase 2 will gradually allow people to resume more social activities. This will occur over a few months, where gradually, Food & Beverage (F&B) dine-in will be allowed; retail outlets, gyms, fitness studios, tuition and enrichment centres will also reopen. But additional measures may be required, which will be reviewed by a task force, advised by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat.
Lastly, depending on how the Covid-19 situation develops, Singapore will then move into Phase 3, where we will be able to resume with social, cultural, religious and business gatherings and events, but with limited crowd sizes.
The three phases provide a timeline as to how we should be expecting business activities to resume, however it is ultimately dependent on the Covid-19 situation and the number of cases in the community.
As we can see, it is important for companies and workers to work together and take responsibility for the health safety of everyone. Two months of “Circuit Breaker” measures have hurt businesses and the economy badly enough. Should there be another outbreak in a particular company or new clusters formed, the company will have to suspend operations, which will result in dire consequences. Hence, staggered work hours, restricted interactions among workers from different teams and ensuring a requisite level of hygiene and cleanliness should be strictly followed, together with the other measures that companies must take.
For businesses and workers that are unable to resume operations on 2nd June, the Government will continue to support them. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced that there will be a fourth Budget this year at 3.30pm on 26th May 2020, to further address Covid-19 support measures, and the Government’s plans to help businesses and individuals “adapt and build resilience”.