Coronavirus Singapore

Businesses, workers affected by tightened rules to get govt support

Businesses and workers affected by the tightened safe management measures from tomorrow to Aug 18 will get help from the Government through a new package of targeted support measures.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said this package will take reference from the support provided in the previous phase two (heightened alert) period, which had worked out to be in the region of $800 million to $900 million.

The Government aims to finance the new package without drawing on its past reserves, he added.

"We had to go into past reserves previously - it was an emergency situation and we had no choice. But under the current situation where the economy is already recovering and still expected to recover... I think we should try to find other ways to fund the package without having to dip into past reserves." The Ministry of Finance (MOF) will announce more details in the next few days.

Mr Wong said the Government understands the frustrations of businesses, and it will review the measures and consider adjustments in two weeks.

He added that the decision to tighten safe management measures was a difficult one, especially since Singapore has been ramping up vaccinations.

"But based on the assessment of the way the cases have developed, the many clusters we are seeing and how it's likely to have transmitted into the community, we've decided that we have to put in place something to slow down the transmission," he said.

Singapore previously tightened Covid-19 restrictions for about a month from May 16, with dining in at eateries prohibited and working from home made the default, as large clusters emerged and community cases rose. Curbs were eased from June 14.

The previous measures included wage subsidies of 50 per cent under the Jobs Support Scheme given from May 16 to July 11 for businesses in the food and beverage, sports, performing arts and arts education sectors. The support was 30 per cent for qualifying retail outlets, cinema operators, museums, art galleries, historical sites and family entertainment centres.

The support under the scheme was reduced to 10 per cent from July 12 to 25.

Lower-to middle-income workers significantly affected until end-July were offered up to $700 under a temporary Covid-19 Recovery Grant. They must not already be receiving support under the Covid-19 Recovery Grant launched in January.

Past reserves will not be tapped for the previous package.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2021, with the headline 'Businesses, workers affected by tightened rules to get govt support'. Subscribe