Singapore’s circuit breaker measures announced came into effect on 7 April, 2020 and will last till 1st June, 2020.
The government has advised the public to stay inside as much as possible, unless for essential services. That way, you’ll help decrease the rate of COVID-19 spread in Singapore and flatten the curve.
But if you’re like most people, you might still have some uncertainties. What qualifies as an essential service? How often can you get out of your home? And what can you do to protect yourself and others?
We have summarised all the dos and don’ts this circuit breaker period. Be sure to follow them strictly. Otherwise, the circuit breaker measures can be prolonged past May 5th.
Do Circuit Breaker Measures Help And When Will They End?
Self-distancing and the other circuit breaker measures have proven to halt down the spread.
The truth is we need more time to understand how this virus works and how to stop it. Recent news shows us how little we understand about the COVID-19 spread. That’s why the best protection is voluntary isolation.
The government has recently announced the extension of the circuit breaker till 1 June 2020, but we may still be asked to practice social distancing and thorough hygiene.
What Are The Essential Services I Can Leave My House For?
These services include essential needs that you can’t live without. We know some people can’t live without getting their nails done, but that doesn’t qualify as essential in this case.
You can go out of your home to get groceries and medicine or take care of banking issues, but remember to:
- Order online because delivery people are trained in how to protect themselves. Try a variety of restaurants, bars, and hawkers markets with delicious meals and your favourite bottled cocktails.
- Get groceries for a few days.
- If you forgot a non-essential thing on your shopping list, such as soda, don’t go back for it.
- Use a mask and gloves when you’re going to supermarkets or using public transport.
- Don’t dawdle. Make a list at home and do your shopping quickly.
What Happens To My Weekly Shopping Spree?
Cancelled. Unless you’re getting the basics or you’re shopping online. That’s because the government has ordered the closure of all non essential shops. This includes your clothing, furniture, and electronic shops.
You can still go to supermarkets, markets, convenience store, opticians, hardware shops, and pet stores. However, keep in mind to get only essential items and do your necessary shopping for the week.
Can I Go Outside If I Need Some Fresh Air?
Getting fresh air is permitted, but you have to:
- Avoid groups. You’re allowed to go by yourself or with someone who lives with you.
- Don’t go to cluttered places. The beaches are already closed, and so are some parks.
- Look at a real-time map of your nearby parks to see how crowded that place is before leaving your home.
- Don’t spend too much time outside. Don’t spend the whole day walking from place to place. The best option is to take a short walk or bike ride around your home. That way, you’re decreasing the risk of meeting a lot of people that could infect you.
Can I Still Visit My Family And Friends Who Aren’t Infected?
No. The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Bill adopted by the Parliament on April 7th, specifically prohibits social visits, parties, and gatherings. You can only party with the people who already live in your home.
Studies show that even a small party can increase the COVID-19 spread exponentially because many people show no symptoms for at least two weeks. That’s why it’s best not to organize parties.
However, you can:
- Help elderly people in your family or lonely neighbours by bringing them essential groceries and medication.
- Drop your children at their grandparents’ while you’re working out of home, but it’s best to use a daycare centre until the circuit breaker measurements pass. Remember not to bring the grandkids over for social visits, as elderly people are more exposed.
- Use Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp to keep in touch with your family.
Can I Visit My Boyfriend / Girlfriend or Fiancée?
Not unless you’re living in the same house. However, you can move in with your fiancée until the end of the circuit breaker.
The rule is that you need to be engaged. Otherwise, you can’t move in with your girlfriend or boyfriend.
What Happens If I Don’t Want To Follow The Rules?
Singapore is carefully patrolled by enforcement officers and safe-distancing ambassadors. If you don’t follow the circuit breaker rules, you’ll be fined $300 on the spot. The maximum allowed fine is $10,000.
If you hold any social gatherings, you can be sent to gaol for up to six months.
Can I Go Out For A Haircut?
Yes, but only for a quick cut or shave. The law prohibits you from getting any treatments. Nail, tattoo, and massage salons are also closed.
It’s also best to postpone getting your hair cut unless it’s necessary. Each time you go out, your risk of getting infected increases, as you can see explained in various simulations.
Can I Keep My Vacation Plans?
It’s best to stay at home because:
- Vacations don’t qualify as essential and travelling increases the risk of spreading the infection. In turn, that means Singapore will end up spending more time under lockdown.
- A lot of countries have already closed their borders. Even if you get to your destination, you’ll spend two weeks under quarantine instead of enjoying your holiday.
- You’ll need to serve your Stay-Home Notice. After you get back, you’ll be isolated in a hotel for two weeks to ensure you’re not exhibiting symptoms.
You can’t even go on a staycation at a hotel in your area because the hotels are used for Singaporeans who return home from abroad.
How Can I Protect Myself And Others?
As you probably figured it out, the best thing you can do is stay home. Don’t try to trick the system and break the rules.
This period is very challenging, especially when this is a worldwide pandemic. But, know that you’re doing what you need to stop the spread.
Otherwise, remember to:
- Use face masks and gloves.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a paper tissue when you sneeze or cough. Throw it away immediately and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
If you want to help those around you further, you can:
- Do the shopping for you and your elderly relatives and/or neighbours so they can stay inside.
- Walk or ride your bike instead of using public transport.
- Donate food, clothes, and hygiene supplies to the needy.
Staying home is the best thing you can do now. Remember, the more you stay inside now, the less you’ll stay inside in the long-run. This will also decrease the chances of the circuit breaker prolonging.
If you still have uncertainties, call 1800 333 9999 for the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 enquiries.