On the 3rd April 2020, Singapore PM Lee announced stricter social distancing rules effective Tuesday, 7th April 2020 for one month to control the second wave of COVID-19 spread. Together with the third stimulus package (announced on Monday 6th April by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat). The aim is to help combat the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases and to flatten the curve. The new social distancing rules are:
Shut down of all non-essential businesses
Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, health care, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. As well as sectors that form part of the strategic global supply chain. However, most other workplaces must close or work from home if able to.
Home based learning for students
MOE to work with schools to implement and roll out home-based learning, starting from 8th April 2020. This is applicable for both schools and universities. All preschool and child care centres will remain open to support only parents who have to continue to work with no other alternative care arrangement.
Restriction on people movement and gatherings
PM Lee has urged everyone to minimise physical contact. People need stay at home as much as possible and avoid any socialising with anyone beyond your own household. You should only go out for essential things e.g. for work, food/grocery or urgent medical reasons.
‘The spirit of these measures is to get all of us to minimise physical contact. If we do not go out, if we avoid contact with others, then the virus will not be able to spread. It is as simple as that.’ – PM Lee Hsien Loong
Third Stimulus Package – Covid-19
Complimenting the above stricter social distancing rules, the government has also unveiled a USD $3.6 billion third stimulus package to help support the local economy. Drawing on its deep sovereign reserves to help businesses and citizens through the month long partial lock down. Key points are:
- The government will now offset up to 75 per cent of the first S$4,600 of all local workers’ monthly wages for the month of April. (In the last stimulus round, the government subsidises up to 25 percent for most workers’ salary up to $4,600. Some of the most impacted industries will received up to 50 or 75 percent subsidy)
- One-month waiver of foreign worker levies
- One-off $600 handout to all adults Singaporeans
- Self-employed to receive a total cash pay out of $9,000 over nine months