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Written reply to PQ on reopening of economy

Written reply to PQ on reopening of economy


Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry how will the economy be reopened in stages after the circuit breaker ends.

Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing

1. Singapore will exit our Circuit Breaker from 2 June 2020. We will ramp up our economic activity safely, in order to protect lives and livelihoods.

2. Currently, even during the Circuit Breaker period, we have allowed key companies in our global manufacturing, biomedical, and petrochemical sectors to continue functioning and supporting global supply chains.

3. From 2 June 2020, we will resume additional economic activities that do not pose a high risk of transmission. Sectors that will be allowed to reopen or ramp up their operations in Phase One include those that are closely intertwined with global supply chains, and those in settings with lower transmission risks. These include most manufacturing and production facilities, as well as office-based businesses and those that do not require interactions with large groups of people.

4. Businesses that reopen must comply with the requirements on safe management practices set out by the Ministry of Manpower and respective government agencies. These include enforcing safe distancing and mask wearing amongst their employees at the workplace, staggering working hours and break times, ensuring no cross-deployment of staff across teams or worksites, reducing physical interaction or mixing amongst workers, and cancelling or deferring social gatherings.  In addition, businesses must allow their employees to Work From Home (WFH) to the maximum extent. Employees should only go into the office when demonstrably needed (e.g. to access systems or equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to fulfil legal requirements such as completing contracts or transactions). The Government will conduct checks, and close businesses that do not provide a safe workplace, or fail to comply with safe management measures.

5. If community transmission rates remain low and stable in Phase One, more firms will gradually be allowed to reopen in subsequent phases. These include more consumer services (e.g. retail shops), and fewer restrictions on existing services (e.g. dining-in will be allowed at F&B establishments). Employers should, however, still ensure that those who can WFH continue to do so.
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