Phase 2 Heightened Alert FAQs
We may not be in a full-blown Circuit Breaker, but there are certainly a lot more restrictions than what we had already gotten used to in Phase 3. For the complete low-down on dos and don’ts from now till 13th June 2021, we’ve sifted through official sources to help answer your Phase 2 Heightened Alert FAQs.
These include clarifications on snacking and sipping on refreshments while in public despite not dining in, 2-pax restrictions when you have babies to care for at home, and the all-important question: will bubble tea shops be closing nationwide like they did in 2020?
Check out our other Covid-19 resources:
- Lesser-known Phase 2 changes
- Unspoken Covid-19 rules
- Common face mask mistakes
- Telemedicine options in Singapore
1. Can I dabao food to eat in public or have a picnic at the park?
Dining in at restaurants, cafes and hawker centres has been banned for the time being, which begs the question: are we allowed to dabao food or purchase snacks and drinks for nomming on the go?
While there are currently no concrete restrictions in place about eating in public without formally dining in, keep in mind that this rule was established to prevent people from removing their masks in public, especially in high-traffic places such as eateries where virus transmission rates are exponentially increased. Hence, roaming around mask-free would defeat the purpose.
When it comes to bringing a bunch of food to a park and having a picnic, you might think that the vast open-air space would give you some leeway. But just like how parks got super crowded during Circuit Breaker when people had nothing else to do, allowing picnics would likely lead to throngs of mask-down folks gathering at nature spots islandwide.
When in doubt, just stay home or wait till you’re back in the house before you slip off your mask and dig into your takeaway meal. And please, don’t try to game the system by purchasing a drink and having it in your hand just so you can stroll mask-free while you’re out and about.
Note: Food delivery riders as well as taxi and private hire drivers are allowed to eat in either their vehicles, or on park benches and at void decks to fuel up, but must be able to show their proof of employment. Hawker stall owners are also permitted to eat in front of their stalls.
2. Do I have to follow the 2-pax restriction if I have a kid at home?
Families are understandably worried upon hearing about the max pax restrictions dwindling from eight to five, and now just two. Fret not, as the government has thankfully made situational exceptions.
Family members living in the same household are allowed to head out together in more than two pax at one time for essential activities, such as sending children to school, going for medical appointments, and visiting elderly grandparents in a different household to care for them.
For non-essential activities such as grocery runs and heading out to dabao food, however, families are advised to still go two at a time.
If you stay with young kids or elderly who cannot be left alone at home, do remember to bring along the ICs of everyone heading out. Safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will be deployed to verify if groups beyond two pax are indeed related and from the same household.
3. Will bubble tea shops close?
The all-important question, and something many BBT addicts feared when Phase 2 Heightened Alert was first announced. As of now, there has been no announcement of a nationwide closure of standalone F&B stalls, like the one which took place in 2020.
Remember that evening of panic where Singaporeans queued for hours just to get a final taste of their favourite pearl-filled beverage, with some even breaking into violent fights? War flashbacks, indeed.
That said, some outlets have been closed temporarily, likely to reduce operational costs during this period of reduced human traffic. Affected chains so far include LiHO and KOI. Our advice is to visit the social media pages of your favourite bubble tea chain before you head down to check for outlet closures.
4. Can I still watch movies and eat my popcorn?
Cinemas will still be open for biz, with the exception of Filmgarde Cineplexes which has decided to close till 31st May at least. There will be a tightened capacity across all remaining theatres throughout Phase 2 Heightened Alert, capped at 100 attendees.
Before you book your tickets, take note that eating and drinking during the movie will not be allowed. Concession stands will be closed, and don’t try to sneak in your own snacks either because Singapore theatres are said to be fitted with low-light CCTVs, and there might be hall checks.
In short, if you cannot tahan sitting through an entire screening without munching on popcorn and nachos, having a sip of water or removing your mask to catch a breath, maybe just stay home to Netflix and chill.
5. Can I still go for staycations?
Don’t panic if you’d already redeemed your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers to book a hotel staycay prior to the Heightened Alert commencement, as staycations are still allowed for a maximum of two pax per room.
The government has even granted exceptions for families from the same household, where more than two people can share one room. That said, you can only venture out of the room in pairs.
The sad news is, the no dining in rule still applies, so you won’t be able to have a breakfast buffet at the in-house restaurant or share a toast at the hotel bar. That said, many hotels have adapted to these restrictions by launching breakfast bento boxes for guests to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their room.
6. Can I ride taxis and private hire cars with my family beyond 2 pax?
The short answer is yes, provided everyone is from the same household.
Those not from the same household have to go splitsies – two pax per vehicle, to go on essential trips such as urgent medical appointments and so on. Otherwise, you should not be intermingling beyond two pax in the first place, so why are you even thinking about rides?
7. Can I exercise outdoors and play sports at indoor stadiums?
Gyms may be closed, but you can still exercise at parks or play sports like basketball, badminton and table tennis. The rules are a little complicated, so here’s a simplified breakdown:
- For indoor settings, masks have to be worn at all times no matter the intensity. So give your games a miss if you think you’ll get super out of breath and run the risk of fainting.
- Outdoor exercise, however, allows you to remove your mask but only when it gets strenuous, and there is a 2-pax limit – including the coach or instructor.
- If the intensity of the outdoor exercise is low and masks are kept on throughout, there is a max capacity of either 30 participants, or the specific capacity limit based on the venue, whichever is lower.
Visit Sport Singapore for the full set of guidelines and latest updates. But if you want to err on the side of caution while still maintaining your fitness, consider sticking to home workouts till all this blows over.
8. Can I eat with my colleagues if I’m not working from home?
Those who aren’t working from home might be thrilled at the chance to clock in some social interaction beyond members of their household, but hold your horses – social gatherings within the workplace are not allowed during Phase 2 Heightened Alert.
Staff are to settle their meal breaks individually, with no intermingling whilst eating. This is, once again, to prevent interactions when masks are off and in turn, limit the potential spread of the virus.
9. Can I still go for beauty treatments like hairstyling & facials?
A full month of no beauty treatments is no joke, especially when you’re already in dire need of dyeing your black roots or taming your unwanted bushes.
The good news is, beauty and wellness services are still allowed to be carried out – but your masks have to be on throughout the process. This obviously means no facial treatments are allowed for the time being, so you’ll have to resort to home beauty remedies to keep your complexion glowing.
Other treatments like eyelash extensions, waxing, threading, hair salon procedures and massages are a-okay.
10. Can I continue my home renovation works?
Covid-19 has thrown a spanner in the works for new homeowners in Singapore, with significant delays in BTO completion and renovation works.
If you’re in the midst of renovating your house or are about to start while still within the Heightened Alert phase, take note that a maximum of two unique workers are allowed at a household per day. This also means you cannot have additional visitors on the same day, as the workers will be counted in the “two visitors per day” cap.
No cap will apply if there are no occupants residing within the home at the time of the renovation.
Latest Phase 2 Heightened Alert guidelines & updates to take note of
It can be difficult to stay abreast of the constant Phase 2 Heightened Alert developments, be it stricter rules or new exceptions based on feedback from the people. The last thing you want is to fall prey to fake news or unreliable chatter passed through the grapevine, so we’ve taken care to include only the latest rules from government authorities.
When in doubt, stay home unless absolutely necessary. It may be boring, but it’s a small price to pay to help ensure that the community cases don’t spread further. The sooner we bite the bullet and stay as safe as we can, practising healthy habits, the better chance we’ll have of everything going back to normal.
Check out some inspirational Covid-19 content to keep your spirits up:
- Being a frontline nurse in Singapore
- Getting married during Covid-19 times
- Covid-19 volunteering stories
- Overcoming past pandemics
Cover image credit: The Smart Local
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