Singaporeans pine for a return to their old ways of life during the circuit breaker, but six in 10 people polled in a recent survey say they are no longer confident to be part of crowds, or go out as often as they used to.
Key reasons include the fear of contracting Covid-19 and wanting to avoid long queues and crowds.
Manulife polled more than 1,000 respondents aged between 21 and 64 in late June to understand attitudes and sentiment towards the lifting of circuit breaker measures, and what the "new normal" might look like. "Pre-circuit breaker" is defined as before April 7, 2020, and "post-circuit breaker" is defined as from June 19, 2020. The findings were released on Aug 3.
The online survey found that only one in three respondents had the confidence to step out of their homes with ease, while six in 10 would rather avoid a crowd.
Before the circuit breaker, nearly eight in 10 respondents had a fast-paced lifestyle and regularly visited shopping malls. Many also enjoyed outdoor activities and social visits, with almost six in 10 respondents going on hikes, or visiting friends and family at home.
After most businesses and social activities were allowed to resume from June 19, most respondents remained wary of restarting outdoor entertainment, lifestyle and fitness activities, choosing to limit majority of outdoor ventures to essential activities such as grocery shopping or home visits.
The survey findings, which paint a subdued picture of the post-circuit breaker environment, are an indication of how the pandemic has impacted attitudes and behaviours. With many Singaporeans being hesitant about resuming life as it was before, much needs to be done to overcome concerns about the post-circuit breaker environment.
Go out and have fun in a responsible way
To encourage Singaporeans to resume life in the new normal, Manulife Singapore will be launching a nationwide sneaker drop beginning tomorrow with the message "Life Goes On, Let's Move Responsibly".
Mr Darren Thompson, Chief Customer Officer of Manulife Singapore says: "At Manulife Singapore, it is our role as our customers' trusted life insurance partner to help them live confidently as they ease into the new normal. With the campaign, we hope to encourage Singaporeans to take small steps to venture out once again in a safe and responsible manner."
Held across five weeks both offline and virtually with limited-edition sneakers up for grabs weekly, the Manulife Singapore Online Sneaker Drop aims to motivate Singaporeans to step out safely and confidently, in line with the government's phased approach for the safe and gradual resumption of outdoor activities. For a chance to win the limited-edition sneakers, Singaporeans have to answer a series of simple questions weekly. To get the right answers, participants may choose to head out and about the neighbourhoods in a safe and responsible manner with masks on while maintaining social distancing.
Distancing from home
When lockdowns and circuit breaker measures kicked in around the world, people found themselves reassessing the meaning of quality of life.
The same survey found that almost seven in 10 respondents worry about the economy, and six in 10 about job security. Four in 10 respondents are concerned about emotional and psychological well-being.
However, the survey unearthed several silver linings: People embraced technology to cope with the circuit breaker disruptions, with more than six in 10 respondents taking work meetings via video calls. Also, about one in three upgraded their skills with online courses, ordered groceries online for the first time, or had happy hour drinks virtually.
Mr Thompson says: "We've all had to make adjustments to our daily lives during this period. Now, even as we move towards resuming our pre-circuit breaker routines, we recognise that things will not be the same as before."
The dawn of the new normal will see virtual and social activities playing complementary roles in helping people stay connected with each other. With major responsibilities such as work and grocery shopping being carried out from the comforts of home, this could encourage more to step out of the house for other events in their free time.
Creating this balance between distancing from home and resuming activities outside will also serve to boost confidence in the community.
Ms Cheryl Lim, Vice President, Head of Brand, Communications and Sponsorship, says: "As Singaporeans build their own versions of the new normal, we hope that more will find the confidence to resume activities that bring them joy. With the winners of our sneakers, it is our hope that they will wear their new kicks proudly to take a Singapoliday - to rediscover their neighbourhoods and support local businesses, in a fun yet safe and responsible way.