Decisions announced by the ministerial task force on Monday reflect the long game that Singapore needs to play as it makes the best of regularly changing circumstances that come with the coronavirus pandemic. Some dining concessions will be extended to hawker centres and coffee shops to allow fully vaccinated members of the same household to eat out in groups of up to five by the end of this month. A pilot scheme has been rolled out to ease capacity limits and zoning requirements for specific events, such as the Milken Institute Asia Summit, Bloomberg New Economy Forum and Mandopop star JJ Lin's two-day live concert all taking place this month. From Dec 3, there will be a further easing of restrictions for migrant workers in dormitories by expanding the community visit programme. On the borders front, vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) will expand to include India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
These are calculated measures on a range of fronts but, taken as a whole, show the contours of a deliberate and hopefully effective plan for Singapore to steadily transit into a Covid-19-resilient nation. How to promote economic and social interaction among Singaporeans is a key concern, particularly among families that were accustomed to visiting restaurants, hawker centres and coffee shops together before Covid-19 struck. Economically, the survivability of these everyday eating places lies at the heart of Singapore's gregarious nature. Foreign workers, whose labour has been crucial in keeping the country going during the pandemic, cannot be expected to be productive if their social lives are circumscribed indefinitely.