The past week has had a decidedly different feel about it, much of it reminiscent of pre-Covid-19 days. The rush of Singaporeans visiting Malaysia during the long weekend, the cautious but discernible buzz over the opening up of the nightclub and KTV scene, and the sell-out of tickets for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, which is still months away, suggested just how much residents here have longed for a break from what was the norm of life under the pandemic. The suspension of social activities that used to be taken for granted was one of the most severe consequences they faced. The associated assault on the economy necessitated massive government intervention to bail out companies and protect jobs.
But even as activities return to normal, Singaporeans must remember that Covid-19 is not a thing of the past. Social precautions, which have become habitual by now, continue to be very much the order of the day - or night, as the case may be. Residents can afford to pat themselves on the back for having come through some of the most severe of Covid-19 restrictions. The resumption of the nightlife sector represents a major step towards Singapore's fuller reopening and living with Covid-19 as an endemic disease. The industry is an essential part of the 24/7 lifestyle ecosystem, which not only fuels the domestic economy but also enhances the country's appeal to visitors who are here for business or tourism. Over the past two years, the sector has been affected so badly that employers and employees could be forgiven for thinking their businesses faced certain closure. They now have a well-deserved reprieve. But to their credit, many are taking a careful approach to reopening given that safe management measures remain in place, and staffing is not at an ideal level.