Coronavirus: Public urged not to rush out when measures ease on May 12

Shoppers cross the road outside Junction 8 shopping mall in Bishan on April 30, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Even as barbers, hairdressers and some other businesses prepare to reopen from Tuesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has urged people not to rush.

"I know some people may not have had a haircut for some time, but there is no need to rush to go out to have a haircut on May 12," he stressed.

There will be lots of time to do what needs to be done, he said, adding that people should pace themselves.

"We should remain vigilant and not take any chances. (The easing of measures on May 12) should not be an opportunity for us to go out more frequently," Mr Wong stressed.

The multi-ministry task force, which the minister is co-chair of, had announced earlier that certain businesses would be allowed to resume operations on Tuesday.

These include all food outlets selling packaged snacks, cakes, confectionery and desserts as well as home-based food businesses and hairdressers, subject to some restrictions.

For example, hairdressers may offer basic haircuts, while dining in remains banned. Restaurants and other eateries have to ensure that they have delivery services.

"The circuit breaker is still in place and we should make the most of the next three weeks and more through the circuit breaker period to bring our community numbers down as much as possible," Mr Wong added.

At the community level, the number of Covid-19 infections being reported every day has been coming down. The average in the past week was about 10 a day, the minister said. The number of unlinked cases has also come down.

"Importantly, if you look at the surveillance programme which we have put in place to test cases in our clinics with prolonged respiratory illness, those cases have also been coming down, which suggests that the number of unlinked cases in our community is lower than it used to be in the recent weeks," Mr Wong said.

For businesses, the minister said that they should similarly be in no rush to reopen and neglect safe management practices which they must first put in place.

Even as some shops are eager to reopen, others are cautious.

Bak kwa brand Lim Chee Guan told The Straits Times that it will reopen its flagship store in New Bridge Road first and monitor the situation before deciding when to reopen the other three outlets.

Housewife Annie Tan, 42, said: "I'm definitely excited that some of the shops are resuming services but it's important to heed the call to not all rush out on the first day.

"My hairdresser has already messaged all her customers to say that even when her shop reopens, services will be by appointment only. If more businesses do the same, the situation should be under control."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Public urged not to rush out when measures ease on May 12. Subscribe