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Singapore’s ‘circuit breaker’ measures: what you can and can’t do during this period

Only leave your home for essential items and be sure to get everything you need so as to limit your trips

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SINGAPORE—Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that new “” measures to halt the community spread of COVID-19 were being introduced in Singapore. As the PM reiterated, people stay at home and leave only for “essential” matters, but many citizens and residents still have questions as to what that really means for daily life in Singapore.

The new circuit breaker regulations, which took effect on April 7 and will be in place until 5, dictate that people must not leave their homes for anything that isn’t absolutely vital. How Singapore fares amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the next month is dependent on the effectiveness of the measures and the public’s response and compliance to them.

So what are you allowed to do and where are you allowed to go between now and May 5?

You can leave the house for essentials and important services

You are allowed to leave your home to buy daily essentials like groceries and important medicines. If you are going to the grocery, make sure to get all that you need so that you limit your trips outside of your home. For non-essentials, such as like entertainment materials, clothes or gadgets, there’s still online shopping!

You can also go out to seek important services, such as medical , urgent banking and post office services. Again, the emphasis is on the urgency of the matter. You cannot leave the house to get a hair cut or a massage. Those are non-essential services which have to take a back seat for the moment.

You can leave the house to take food out

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For those who prefer takeout or , you are within your rights to avail of those services. Many food and beverage establishments in the city-nation are remaining open for takeaway, and some have delivery services, too.

There’s no need starve during this time, and you can still order from some of your favourite food and drinks spots—restaurants have takeaway and delivery options, bars offer cocktails for takeout, and hawkers deliver delicious food straight to your homes.

To minimise trips out of the house, make sure you get as much food or drink as you need on one trip, and always exercise caution.

You can go outside for fresh air

Singaporeans are encouraged to go outdoors to get some fresh air. Studies show that spending time in nature contributes to both physical and psychological wellness.

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You may not be able to hike up a mountain or go the beach to soak up some nature (those are definite don’ts) right now, but if you have your own outdoor space, such as a balcony or a garden, you’re one of the fortunate ones!

For those who aren’t as lucky—and for those who are feeling cabin feverish—you can visit any of Singapore’s beautiful public parks to get your dose of fresh air. Just make sure you practice social distancing and vigilantly follow protective measures.

Consult this real-time map by NParks to check how congested certain parks are before you visit.

You cannot leave the house for social visits

During this pandemic, most of us may experience separation anxiety from family and friends that we are used to seeing and interacting with on a regular basis. However, no matter how much we’re pining for contact, leaving the house to socialise with family and friends is an absolute no-no.

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If you live with friends or family, then you can by all means spend time together at home. You cannot, however, visit any family or friends whom you don’t share a household with.

As of Tuesday (Apr 7), all social gatherings of any size—both in public and private places—have been banned under the new COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill.

You cannot have social gatherings in your home

In keeping with the new measures, you cannot have people over to your house who don’t already live there, regardless of who they are. This is for your protection as well as the safety of those you live with, especially if they are older and at a higher risk of catching the virus.

You can still keep in touch with family and friends with the assistance of technology, which most of the world is relying on to stay during these uncertain times.

You cannot go on vacations and staycations

If you hadn’t already noticed, now is not exactly the time to go travelling. Borders are closed in different parts of the world, many flights aren’t all taking off, and you could run the very high risk of catching the virus on route to wherever you’re going. And you will also have to serve a 14-day mandatory Stay-Home Notice when you fly into Singapore.

We’ve anticipated your next question, and unfortunately, you cannot go on a staycation either. Hotels are also under strict measures and are not allowed to check new guests in at the moment, while some are being utilised by those who are serving their Stay-Home Notices.

Again, stay at home unless it is absolutely essential and do your part in the fight against COVID-19. /TISG

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