COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures: What Can I Leave My Home For During the Circuit Breaker Period?
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COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures: What Can I Leave My Home For During the Circuit Breaker Period?

profileKenneth Fong
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Remember back when the government advised against holding and participating in social gatherings with more than 10 people to combat the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yep, that was a looooooong time ago.

Ever since the passing of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill on 7 April 2020.

The constantly updated implementation of stricter Circuit Breaker measures and restrictions pretty much means that if we have no business outside, then we should JUST STAY HOME.

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, the Circuit Breaker Period has since been extended till 1 June 2020.

This extension will also see a tightened list of essential services.

So…

You’re probably wondering, “Can I still get my bubble tea or bak kwa?”

“Can I still go out to get a haircut?”

Or perhaps, “Can I nip out to get some cat food for my 5,432,987 cats at home?”

Studious SpongeBob Flipping Through A Book
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Well…

I’ve got some bad news…


TL;DR: Tightened List of Essential Services During Circuit Breaker

Following the announcement of the Circuit Breaker Period extension, fewer businesses will be permitted to operate to bring down the number of people currently working in essential services.

These include consumer-facing businesses like F&B and retail establishments.

Here are some of the measures that will take effect on 21 April 2020, 11:59pm.

F&B Establishments That Will Suspend Operations

CategoryExamples
(non-exhaustive)
BeveragesDrinks
(including bubble tea, fruit juice, smoothies, soya bean)

Alcoholic beverages
(Liquor, wine, beer)

Coffee and tea
SnacksPackaged snacks and loose snacks including nuts, potato chips, popcorn, bak kwa

Cheese
DessertsRed/green bean soup, grass jelly

Ice cream, yoghurt

Cakes, cupcakes, waffles, chocolate, cookies, sweet pastries, doughnuts

Note: hawker centres, coffeeshop, and food courts are excluded

Manufacturing Facilities That Are Not Allowed to Operate

  • Manufacture of chocolate and chocolate products
  • Manufacture of chips, crackers, and other tidbits (excluding biscuits and confectionery)
  • Manufacture of ice-cream
  • Manufacture of cocoa and chocolate powder from beans
  • Manufacture of non-chocolate confectionery (eg. sweets, toffee, crystalised fruits, chewing gum)
  • Manufacture of cake and confectionery

Retail Establishments That May Continue Operations

CategoryExamples
Food
(supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores)
Allowed to operate if selling predominantly food items.

All convenience stores in parks must close.
Health & Social Services
(pharmacies and personal care items)
Allowed to operate.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) establishments with MOH-registered in-house TCM practitioners allowed to open for consultation and dispensing of related TCM medication only. No walk-in retail.
Hardware StoresAllowed to operate if selling predominantly hardware items.
Optical ShopsBy appointment only.

No walk-in allowed.
Pet Supplies StoresOnly online retail and delivery allowed.

Physical shops must close.
Laundry ServicesIndustrial laundry services allowed.

Retail laundry services allowed but only for online sales and delivery.

Physical stores must close.

Oh… and one more thing.

Hair salons and barbers, including those offering only basic haircut services, which were previously allowed to open must now close.

For more information, you’ll want to refer to the official list of essential services released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

Additional Circuit Breaker Measures to Control Access at Popular Hotspots

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also announced that temperature screening will be conducted at all supermarkets and malls with effect from 22 April 2020.

If you visit popular malls and supermarkets, you will also need to furnish your particulars for contact tracing.

On top of this, our popular wet markets will also institute entry only on alternate days depending on the last digit of your NRIC or FIN card.

These markets are:

  • Chong Pang Market at Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road
  • Geylang Serai Market
  • Wet market at Block 20/21 Marsling Lane
  • Wet market at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52

Those with an even last digit (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) can visit these markets only on even dates of the month.

While those with an odd last digit (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can visit these markets on odd dates of the month.

FYI: you’ll still need to wear your mask, maintain the 1m separation, and respect the access control quotas


Circuit Breaker Restrictions on Movement of People

Basically everyone “must stay at or in, and not leave, his or her ordinary place of residence in Singapore”.

And no one should be allowed to enter your place of residence either.

SpongeBob Saying Stop And Holding Up A Spatula
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Less for the following reasons:

1. Work in Essential Services

To work for or with an essential service provider, specified schools or early childhood development centres

Otherwise, everyone else should be working from home.

2. Send Your Child to Childcare

Only if you or your spouse work for an essential service provider.

While parents are not allowed to drop off their children at their grandparents’ place in order to refrain from exposing the elderly to the risk of infection.

Grandparents can still continue to care for grandchildren if they are staying together during the Circuit Breaker Period.

3. Buy Essential Goods and Services

You can still head out to get stuff like food and groceries.

But stuff like haircuts is off the table now.

Pro-tip: use our best grocery credit cards guide to figure out which card to use BEFORE hitting the supermarkets, so you don’t have to stand in line and figure it out

Or just do all your shopping online with these best credit cards for online shopping.

4. Exercise Alone or With Others You Live With

The caveat is “in green and open spaces” only.

Also, no jio-ing of friends to exercise together.

The stadiums have already been closed because of this.

So, let’s not do anything stupid now, shall we?

5. Get Medical Treatment

At hospitals or medical clinics for suspected COVID-19 infections as well as “medical treatment that is of pressing nature”.

I mean, this is a given lah…

6. Care for the Disabled and Elderly

You can leave your residence to assist someone who has a “physical or mental disability, or is below 12 years of age or above 60 years of age, with his or her daily needs”.

So you can still visit your elderly parents who live alone in order to help them with their daily needs.

But really, you should reduce interaction with them as far as possible (for their own good).

And you should observe strict personal hygiene.

7. Seek or Render Help In an Emergency

Erm… for obvious reasons?

8. Comply With the Law

You can report to “any law enforcement officer or to attend at any court in accordance with any warrant, summons or order made under any written law or order of a court”.

Or be present at any place “in accordance with a requirement under any written law”.

9. Report for NS Duties

You can report for enlistment or service under the Enlistment Act.

10. Move to Another Place of Accommodation

You can move house.

11. Leave Singapore

This is NOT a great idea since you will be charged unsubsidised rates for in-patient stay at public hospitals if you’re admitted for suspected COVID-19 symptoms.

Oh, and you will NOT be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) if you are admitted for suspected COVID-19 either.

So don’t be bodoh.

JUST STAY HOME, PLEASE.

Other Exceptions

  • You can engage emergency household services (eg. electricians and plumbers) but must maintain social distancing
  • You can accompany your elderly parent for medical appointments but you have to wear a mask and observe strict personal hygiene
  • Food delivery riders, hawkers, and taxi drivers can eat in public but must eat alone or with a 1m separation from the next person

What Are Essential Services?

Spongebob Thinking
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

In case you’re too lazy to click on the link I provided.

Here’s a list of essential services at a glance:

  • Health and social services (eg. hospitals and nursing homes)
  • Food (eg. F&B outlets, food delivery services)
  • Energy (eg. electricity and gas companies, petrol kiosks)
  • Water, Waste, Environment (eg. waste collection and disposal, meteorological services)
  • Transportation and Storage (eg. public transport an airport operations)
  • Information and Communications (eg. telecommunications and postal service)
  • Defence and Security
  • Constructions, Facilities Management, and Critical Public Infrastructure (eg. critical public infrastructure, epidemic control)
  • Manufacturing and Distribution (eg. aerospace maintenance and food-related items)
  • Banking and Finance (eg. banking and remittance services, insurance and asset management)
  • Legal Services (Limited)
  • Others (eg. hairdresser, vet, electricians, plumbers, vehicle repairs)

FYI: this is NOT exhaustive, and there are certain conditions to be met under each service, so please read this for more information!

Prohibition on Social Gatherings

Yep.

There’s no more rule of 10.

As stated in the Control Order, “a person must not meet another individual not living in the same place of residence for any social purpose”.

The key phrase to take note here is: ANY SOCIAL PURPOSE.

Keeping A Safe Distance During Circuit Breaker Period

Whatever legitimate reasons you have for leaving your home.

The usual rules of social distancing still apply.

Plus, as long as you’re in public, you HAVE to wear your mask!

You also have to keep a distance “of at least one metre from any other individual” in any public place or common area.

Unless under the following circumstances:

  • In a lift
  • In a vehicle
  • On premises used for public transport (like MRT stations, bus stops, and bus interchanges)

But then again, all trains and train stations, as well as buses, bus interchanges and bus stops are being progressively marked with safe distancing stickers.

Also standing spaces and seats that should be avoided have also been marked out by the Land Transport Authority.

LTA Safe Distancing on Public Transport
Source: Land Transport Authority

So, technically, you can observe social distancing even on public transportation.

COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Penalties and Fines

I’m sure that you’ve seen the video of the police officers arresting a man for disorderly behaviour after he tried to eat at a void deck and refused to leave despite being told to do so.

Police Arresting Man At Void Deck During Circuit Breaker Period
Source: Straits Times

Yep.

Sh*t is getting real.

If you breach social distancing measures like insisting on having your meal in public, not wearing a mask in public or not adhering to the 1m separation.

Here’re the penalties and fines that you’re looking at:

Circuit Breaker Non-ComplianceCircuit Breaker Penalties and Fines
First Offence$300 fine

Note: no more written warning
Second or Repeated OffenceUp to $1,000 fine or prosecution
Maximum for non-compliance$10,000 fine and or jailed not more than 6 months

For repeat offenders, the penalties will be doubled ($20,000 fine and 12 months in jail)
Food personnel not wearing mask or face shieldsUp to $5,000 fine, or suspension or cancellatioon of license OR both
Work pass holders who breach Circuit Breaker measuresWork pass revoked and permanently barred from entering Singapore

.

.

.

So in the immortal words of Phua Chu Kang, “Don’t pray pray ah.”

profile
About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
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