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Extension of circuit breaker period and stricter circuit breaker measures

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Published: 22 April 2020

Authors and Contributors: Tan Min-LiGe Xiaomeng and Timothy Tan.

On 21 April 2020, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced stricter circuit breaker measures and an extension of the circuit breaker period by four weeks to 1 June 2020 (inclusive).
The various Ministries and statutory boards have made press releases elaborating on the above. The following are the key highlights.

Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”)

Tightened list of services

Less critical consumer services will be suspended from 21 April 2020, 2359 hours. These services include F&B outlets that sell only beverages, packaged snacks, confectioneries, or desserts (but exclude those in hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops) and F&B outlets (including food vending machines) in parks. Online sale of these products is still allowed, provided that the orders can be fulfilled from the licensed central kitchen, manufacturing facility or warehouse of the F&B establishment. The manufacturing facility must not be in the following list:

Certain consumer-facing businesses will have additional restrictions. For example, optician shops can operate by appointment only and no walk-in customers are allowed, while pet supplies stores and retail laundry services must close their physical stores but may provide online sales and delivery. The list of retail establishments that may operate and their restrictions are as follows:

All other retail establishments not listed in the above categories must suspend on-site operations, including hair salons and barbers. Online retail is allowed except for online retail of pets.
The number of businesses allowed to operate at their work premises will be reduced. These businesses will be notified by MTI and will have 24 hours to wind down their business operations completely. If the business has not been notified, it can continue to operate throughout the extended circuit breaker period.

Additional safeguards against community transmission

Temperature screening will be conducted at all supermarkets and malls with effect from 22 April 2020.
Patrons visiting popular malls and supermarkets must furnish particulars for contact tracing.
For workplace premises which remain open, in addition to the various measures already announced, they are encouraged to use SafeEntry, a digital check-in application, that logs workers’ entry into and exit from workplaces. More information about this can be found at go.gov.sg/safeentry.
In relation to foreign workers, with effect from 21 April 2020, 2359 hours, daily movement of workers in and out of all dormitories will not be allowed, including workers living in the dormitories who had earlier been allowed to commute to work.

Extension of circuit breaker period

The circuit breaker period which was originally to last until 4 May 2020 (inclusive) has been extended by four weeks and will last until 1 June 2020 (inclusive). Businesses which had received approvals by the MIT earlier during the original circuit breaker period can continue their operations. The MIT will notify those businesses that have to suspend operations.

Further information

More details can be found in the annexes to the MTI press release at https://www.mti.gov.sg/-/media/MTI/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2020/04/REVISED1-Press-Release–Tightened-List-of-Essential-Services-and–Measures-for-Workplaces.pdf.

The Ministry of Finance (“MOF”)

The Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidy of 75% has been extended across all sectors for the month of May 2020 and will be disbursed by end-May 2020.
The Jobs Support Scheme payout will be extended to cover wages of employees of a company who are also shareholders and directors of the company.
The Foreign Worker Levy waiver and Foreign Worker Levy rebate will be extended by one month.
The full press release may be found here: https://www.mof.gov.sg/Newsroom/press-releases/government-to-continue-support-measures-to-protect-livelihoods-and-stabilise-businesses-during-extended-circuit-breaker-period.

National Environment Agency (“NEA”)

From 22 April 2020, access to certain markets will be restricted based on the last digit of the patrons’ National Registration Identification Card (“NRIC”) or Foreign Identification Number (“FIN”). Those with an even last digit (i.e. 0, 2, 4, 6, 8) can only visit these markets on the even dates of the month, while those with an odd last digit (i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can only visit these markets on the odd dates of the month. The affected markets are set out below:

  • Geylang Serai Market;
  • Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road (Chong Pang Market);
  • Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane; and
  • Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.

Patrons who require assistance with their marketing, such as the elderly and persons with disability, may be accompanied by one member in the same household or foreign domestic worker to assist them in their market visits. However, one of their identification numbers (NRIC or FIN) must still meet the odd or even date entry restriction in order to enter the market.
For more information, please refer to NEA’s press release here: https://www.nea.gov.sg/media/news/news/index/targeted-action-to-safeguard-public-health-visits-to-four-markets-will-be-restricted-based-on-the-last-digit-of-the-patrons-identification-number.

Ministry of Education (“MOE”)

With the Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s decision to extend the circuit breaker period till 1 June 2020 (inclusive), the MOE announced that it will bring forward the June holidays to 5 May 2020.
The academic calendar has been revised as follows:

  • 5 May 2020 to 1 June 2020: School holidays
  • 2 June 2020: Start of Term 3
  • 20 July 2020 to 26 July 2020: Mid-term break
  • 6 September 2020: End of Term 3

Institutes of Higher Learning will have to take the following measures from 5 May 2020 to 1 June 2020:

  • Students from polytechnics will continue with full HBL.
  • Students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will continue with full HBL until 8 May 2020. Thereafter, they will be on vacation from 9 May 2020 to 1 June 2020 (vacation is brought forward from mid-June. ITE will be providing more details separately).
  • Students from the Singapore Institute of Technology and some students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design will be starting their school term on 18 May 2020 in full HBL.
  • The other autonomous universities will be having their holidays. Those offering a summer term will conduct all classes online.

Limited care services will continue in schools for parents working in essential services who are unable to secure alternative care arrangements.
Certain common last topics will also be removed from the national examinations this year.
The GCE-level Mother Tongue Language Examinations have also been rescheduled.
For further details, please refer to MOE’s press release here: https://www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/mid-year-holidays-brought-forward-as-schools-adjust-academic-calendar-institutes-of-higher-learning-to-extend-home-based-learning.

Sport Singapore

Sport Singapore has also updated its advisory on the measures for sport and physical exercise during the extended circuit breaker period with effect from 21 April 2020, 2359 hours.
In particular, members of the public are urged to exercise at home and reduce movement to a minimum. While not encouraged, individuals may leave home to exercise alone and in their immediate neighbourhoods. Individuals should not linger after their exercise and should return home immediately after they are done with their exercise.
For further details, please refer to the advisory by Sport Singapore here: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/Newsroom/Media-Releases/2020/Advisory-on-Tightened-Measures-on-Sport-and-Physical-Exercise.

More information

More information may be found in the Ministries’ and statutory boards’ various press releases here:

  • Prime Minister’s speech on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore on 21 April 2020 in full: https://www.pmo.gov.sg/Newsroom/PM-Lee-Hsien-Loong-address-COVID-19-21-Apr
  • MTI: https://www.mti.gov.sg/-/media/MTI/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2020/04/REVISED1-Press-Release–Tightened-List-of-Essential-Services-and–Measures-for-Workplaces.pdf
  • MOF: https://www.mof.gov.sg/Newsroom/press-releases/government-to-continue-support-measures-to-protect-livelihoods-and-stabilise-businesses-during-extended-circuit-breaker-period
  • NEA: https://www.nea.gov.sg/media/news/news/index/targeted-action-to-safeguard-public-health-visits-to-four-markets-will-be-restricted-based-on-the-last-digit-of-the-patrons-identification-number
  • Ministry of Health: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/strong-national-push-to-stem-spread-of-covid-19
  • MOE: https://www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/mid-year-holidays-brought-forward-as-schools-adjust-academic-calendar-institutes-of-higher-learning-to-extend-home-based-learning
  • Ministry of Manpower: https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2020/0421-over-62000-employers-to-benefit-from-$675-million-in-foreign-worker-levy-rebates
  • National Parks Board: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2020/4/tightening-of-safe-distancing-measures-at-parks,-gardens-and-nature-reserves
  • Sport Singapore: https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/Newsroom/Media-Releases/2020/Advisory-on-Tightened-Measures-on-Sport-and-Physical-Exercise

GENERAL DISCLAIMER

This article is provided to you for general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The editor and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the contents and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the contents.

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