Covid-19: essential services can continue, but all other workplace activities must be suspended or errant operators risk penalties

These measures ensure that essential services will continue to circulate, despite the stricter restrictions which will come into force from next Tuesday and will last until at least May 4.

Mr Chan twice said: ‘All supermarkets, wet markets, hawker centers and food establishments will remain open.

Restaurants can only provide takeout and Mr. Chan urged people to bring their own containers of food to help conserve takeout supplies from restaurants.

“There is no need to rush to supermarkets for supplies as this will only disrupt our logistics system. We can continue to purchase our essentials and groceries as usual,” he said. -he declares.

While they may be exempted from the suspension of all activities in the workplace, businesses that provide essential services will also have to operate with basic workers and will also have to adopt safe distancing measures to reduce physical interactions. , did he declare.

Activities that can take place through telework must be carried out from home, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement.

MEASURES TO SUPPORT EMPLOYMENT

All other businesses, which are not on MTI’s list of essential services, must close their offices and adopt work-from-home arrangements in order to continue operations.

This is a change from a previous concession that allowed workers to continue working in the workplace if no other arrangement was possible, Labor Minister Josephine Teo said. .

“With this, all businesses (not on MTI’s list) will have to shut down and everyone will have to work from home,” she said. Those who cannot do so will have to reduce their business activities or stop altogether.

“For everyone else, unless you can get approval, it will be an offense to continue workplace operations,” Ms Teo said.

Anyone found guilty of failing to follow the measures can be fined up to S$10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Friday: “MOM officers will begin enforcement operations from April 7 to ensure that only companies that are exempt from suspension operate from their work premises”.

Ms Teo said these workplace suspension measures will have an impact on jobs, which will be “workers’ priority”.

If companies affected by the suspension are still operating fully, employees should continue to be paid, she said, adding that MOM and MTI are working to roll out the job support program announced in the February budget and the subsequent resilience budget that allows the government to co-pay at least 25% of Singaporeans’ wages.

The scheme aims to help companies retain local workers during the health crisis, which affects all types of jobs.

In Parliament next Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also finance minister, will announce new measures on top of those two previous budgets to support households and businesses.

In addition to resident workers, Ms Teo said the government was also reviewing measures to help companies retain their foreign workforce.

“In the past, the government said no to removing the tax on foreign workers. We will examine it. We will also be looking at temporary relief to ensure essential workforces restart,” she added.

When asked if the lottery services operated by Singapore Pools would continue, Mr Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-departmental task force for Covid-19, said that all Singapore Pools outlets would be closed.

“They are not considered essential services,” he said.

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Michelle J. Kelley