1. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has introduced stringent measures as part of a nation-wide circuit breaker to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions since 7 April 2020. The Taskforce will now make the wearing of masks mandatory for anyone leaving their home. Safe distancing measures for workplaces that continue to operate will also be enhanced.
Update on Circuit Breaker measures
2. Since the start of the circuit breaker measures, Singaporeans have made significant efforts to stay home and reduce movements and interactions except for essential purposes. Public transport ridership and traffic volume have dropped by more than 70%. Similarly, close to 80% of the workforce are now working from home. There are visibly fewer people outside of their homes, with only an estimated 30% to 40% of individuals out and about on weekdays, and 20% to 30% on weekends.
3. Nearly 3,000 enforcement officers and ambassadors from over 30 agencies have been deployed daily to public spaces in HDB estates across the island, to ensure that safe distancing measures are observed. Crowd control measures were put in place to limit entry to popular parks and wet markets. At some of these hotspots, foot traffic has come down by up to 50%. Public spaces including stadiums, playgrounds, fitness corners, beaches, open fields and elderly activity corners have been cordoned off to prevent gatherings. Drones have also been deployed in selected parks and nature areas to monitor visitorship. Specific areas such as open lawns and park connectors were temporarily closed when crowds were high.
4. Since 7 April 2020, more than 6,200 warnings and over 500 fines were issued to individuals who flouted the safe distancing measures. Strict enforcement will continue against individuals as well as essential service providers, owners or occupiers who flout the rules, putting others in danger. Composition offers of $300 for the first offence and $1000 for the second offence will be issued, and egregious cases will be prosecuted in court.
5. Enforcement officers have observed greater compliance with safe distancing measures over the past week. However, there is no room for complacency. While the rise in number of cases daily can be largely attributed to foreign workers living in the dormitories, there are still cases arising from within the community, including at workplace premises. We must make this circuit breaker period count, and tighten where there are areas of risk.
Mask up when out
6. The Multi-Ministry Taskforce updated its guidance on masks on 3 April 2020 based on the latest scientific advice. We have also completed the distribution of reusable masks to residents in Singapore.
7. The Taskforce has now decided to take a further step and make it mandatory for all persons to wear a mask when leaving their homes. The general public is still advised to stay home and avoid going out. However, for those who need to go out for work or to purchase necessities, it is difficult to avoid contact completely, including with infected persons who may not show any symptoms. The wearing of masks is therefore an important precaution we can all take.
8. Everyone must wear a mask when outside of their homes. This applies on public transport, taxis, private hire cars, walking to or at markets, and also for essential workers at all workplace premises, whether they are frontline staff (such as food handlers, cashiers and bus drivers) or performing back office functions (such as data entry personnel and payroll executives). Individuals may remove their mask while engaging in strenuous exercise outdoors (e.g. running/ jogging), but they must put it back on after completing exercise. Mask-wearing is not recommended for young children below the age of two for child safety reasons. Medical experts have also advised that some groups may have difficulties wearing a mask, including children with special needs and young children aged two and above, and we will exercise flexibility in enforcement for these groups.
9. This requirement will be in effect during this circuit breaker period. First-time offenders will be issued composition offers of $300, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases.
Enhanced measures for workplaces which remain open
10. When we started the Circuit Breaker, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce was mindful not to disrupt supply chains and essential services needed for daily living. We have also cleared many of the appeal cases over the past week, so that the key upstream suppliers to essential firms will not be impacted. We will take a closer look to tighten the list of companies that are still operating. We aim to further reduce the number of workers that have to continue to go to work, so that more can stay at home, and we can minimise people movement.
11. For workplace premises which remain open, cross-deployment or movement of workers across different workplace premises (e.g. different branches) will be disallowed. Employers and on-site managers must ensure that this is complied with, to avoid transmissions across workplace premises. There should also be no physical interactions between teams working in different locations. For essential service providers who need to move between different locations to perform their services (e.g. IT support, maintenance, logistics, community nurses making house visits), safe distancing measures must be complied to.
12. Employers and on-site managers are also required to implement strict safe distancing measures within their premises, and for company-arranged transport, to reduce social interactions among workers during their course of work, as well as during their meal and break times. Employers and on-site managers should ensure that workers on-site are wearing masks.
13. The Ministry of Manpower and other enforcement agencies will continue with inspections and take appropriate enforcement actions against non-compliant workplaces. First-time offences by essential service providers, owners or occupiers will be issued composition offers of $1000, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases. Essential service providers may be required to suspend their operations should any of their staff working on the premises become infected.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
14 APRIL 2020