From June 2, more businesses can resume operations with about one-third of workers able to return to work on-site, as Singapore gradually eases restrictions imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Among the first to get the nod to reopen will be businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks and with limited or no interaction with the public, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.
These include manufacturing and production facilities in the semiconductor, medical technology and aerospace sectors, as well as wholesale trade and finance companies. Such businesses will get a class exemption to reopen, which means they can do it without seeking permission, Straits Times reports.
But they must submit information on workers required on-site – for instance, those who need to use machinery or specialised terminals – via the GoBusiness portal, and do so within two weeks of reopening.
Most retail shops and personal services will stay shut. Dining in will not be allowed. But some limited consumer services can resume from June 2. For instance, hairdressers and barbers can offer all hairdressing services. Motor vehicle servicing, air-conditioner servicing and basic pet services are also on the list, among others.
About one-third of the workers in Singapore are expected to resume work on-site from June 2, up from about 17 percent now. The rest will continue to work from home, said Mr Chan. “This will allow more than three-quarters of our economy to resume their normal operations,” he added.
Businesses must ensure that health and safety measures are in place. Mr Chan stressed that priority was given to workers’ health and well-being in the ministry’s decision to let some industries reopen.
Other factors it considered include the criticality of the sectors and the companies’ interactions with the public, he added.
“We really need the companies and the workers to work together and take joint responsibility (because) we want a progressive resumption of work.
“We will not want a situation whereby we start and stop, moving back and forth, between the different settings,” he said. “If there is an outbreak in a particular company, (then) we will have no choice but to shut down either that operation or that part of the operation.”
Staggered work hours, a ban on interactions among workers from different teams and ensuring a requisite level of hygiene and cleanliness are among other measures that firms need to take.
Strict checks will be done to ensure businesses follow safe distancing and sector-specific measures. Those that fail to provide a safe workplace will have their operations suspended until they meet the requirements, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in an advisory issued yesterday.
It noted that “scheduled resumption of business activities from June 2 is ultimately dependent on the health situation”. “Should community transmission rise, the (ministry) will re-evaluate the timeline and the businesses that can resume operations,” it added.
Businesses that are unsure if they can open next month can check the website covid.gobusiness.gov.sg
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said yesterday that financial institutions can reopen more customer service locations from June 2. “This will be carried out with strict safe management requirements in place to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infections, in line with the Ministry of Health’s three-phase approach to resume business operations,” it added.