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Move to Phase 2 of Covid-19 reopening to be decided mid-June;

dining-in, use of sports facilities to resume during this phase

Lim Min Zhang on 28 May 2020

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - The second phase of Singapore's reopening as it exits the circuit breaker period - with almost the entire economy resuming operations - could start before the end of June, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday (May 28).


But this would depend on the level of community spread of Covid-19, he added.


About 75 per cent of the economy can resume operations in Phase 1, which will begin on June 2, said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Thereafter, the task force will continue to monitor the situation, particularly over the first two weeks of June.


"If community transmission remains low and stable, then we will decide by the middle of June on whether we want to take the next step of moving to Phase 2, and that means Phase 2 could happen before the end of June," he said during a virtual press conference.


Phase 2 will entail the resumption of a wider range of activities, with almost the entire economy resuming operations by the start of this phase, he added.


- These include retail shops, consumer services, and dining in at food and beverage outlets subject to a cap of five people per group. The rule will still apply for households of more than five people, who will have to sit at different tables.


- Sports facilities and public venues like stadiums and swimming pools are also expected to reopen


- Social interactions and family visits would also be allowed, subject to the same cap of five people


However, a more cautious approach will need to be taken for activities in higher risk settings, such as those with large gatherings or close contact in enclosed spaces, said Mr Wong. These include museums, libraries, cinemas, theatres, religious functions, bars, clubs and parks.


"All of these venues, based on our experience and overseas experience, have been instances where there have been cases of transmissions in such settings, and so we want to take a more cautious approach for activities in these areas to resume," he said.


"We will begin conversations and discussions with businesses and organisations across these different settings on the safeguards and safe management measures that will be needed," he added.


"Subject to these being in place, we will then discuss with the entities on the exact timing of when they can resume activities within Phase 2. So they may not all resume at the start of Phase 2, but if they have the safeguards and precautions in place, they can resume later but still within Phase 2."


The task force had said previously that Phase 2 will come at least four weeks after the end of the circuit breaker, but could take place earlier depending on circumstances.


From June 2, when the circuit breaker period ends, schools will reopen and some people will be allowed to return to their workplaces, although those who are now working from home must continue to do so.


Shops will stay closed during this first phase, and there will be no dining-in at restaurants and other food outlets.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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