When the circuit breaker ends on 1 June, the majority of Singapore will still continue working from home.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Sunday (3 May) that this should be the norm for the “foreseeable future”.
Companies were first encouraged to reduce on-site activities before the circuit breaker came into place. Prior to 7 April, only about 30 per cent of Singapore’s workforce was working on-site.
During the circuit breaker, this tightened to about 17 per cent, comprising of only those in essential services.
Many people working from home have gotten used to using online platforms for meetings and other work activities.
After the circuit breaker ends, we should expect to go back to the previous level rather than making a complete return to offices.
The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force announced that some businesses will progressively be allowed to reopen from 12 May.
Mr Chan added that the focus will be on “sectors that allow us to trade with the world and access critical supplies”, such as manufacturing and production.
“When deciding which firms and sectors should resume operations first, we will consider factors such as their importance to the economy, contribution to local employment and ability to minimise risks of transmission at their worksites,” he said.
Some home-based businesses, barbers, laundry services, selected food retail outlets, pet food and supplies, and food manufacturing firms will also be allowed to reopen.
Other businesses such as social entertainment outlets may not return yet.
Businesses that are reopening will also be required to adopt measures to to keep working environments safe.
This includes safe distancing measures in factories and offices, splitting staff into teams, and using technological solutions to track and trace workers.
Companies should also ensure that employees avoid unnecessary mingling and interaction outside of work.
Although some sectors will reopen earlier than others, Mr Chan said the ministries will begin reaching out to all companies on how to adopt safe measures.
“We want to give them time to plan and do the necessary so that they will be able to implement the measures in an efficient and effective manner,” he said.
There is currently no timeline for when all businesses can return to normal operations.
However, being able to sustain “very low numbers in the community spread” will give the task force “greater confidence to progressively open up more sectors”.
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