The National Library Building, the National Archives of Singapore Building and all public libraries will reopen on July 1 with shorter opening hours. The capacity will be limited to 50 people per floor, and users can only borrow and return materials. Each visit to libraries will be limited to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Singapore museums have begun to reopen to the public in phases, subject to safe management measures to ensure the safety of employees and visitors.
In the same vein, churches, temples and mosques are adopting a cautious approach in resuming mass prayers and having congregations, even as government guidelines allow for up to 50 worshippers at each session from last Friday. Mass gatherings, especially in closed spaces including places of worship in Singapore and abroad, have contributed to the coronavirus spread, which has seen more than 40,000 infections in Singapore. Across religions, the authorities are adopting a responsible attitude to the resumption of services. Along with Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore, the Hindu Endowments Board, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, the National Council of Churches of Singapore, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore and the Sikh Advisory Board have made careful preparations for the opening up. Their efforts attest to the seriousness with which the religious authorities take their responsibility for the physical, as well as the spiritual, health of their flocks.
What remains is for Singaporeans to remember their duty to themselves and to others as they resume their secular and religious lives after the interruption caused by the circuit breaker. It is only natural to wish to return to the known habits of the status quo ante, but that is not possible. There is a new normal created by the virus. It is that normal towards which society must move.