Phase 2 (Round 2): Winners & Losers

The past week has been a challenging one for both businesses and individuals. On 4 May 2021, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a tightening of safe management measures, similar to that of Phase 2 standards, from 8 May 2021 to 31 May 2021. The aim is to reduce the risk of transmission by reducing overall footfall at public and workspaces.

While we may have gone through Phase 2 before, the latest announcement is the first time since circuit breaker where Singapore has been forced to take a step back in re-shutting down parts of our economy, as opposed to the gradual re-openings that we have been used to seeing since the end of circuit breaker last year. You can read about the measures in place for Phase 2 (Round 2) here.

On their own, the measures affect a small part of our economy, for now at least. We can still do the usual stuff we want, such as to dine out, have up to 5 guests a day at our home, and even show up at the office if we want. However, the worry is that this could be the start of a trend where safe-distancing measures are slowly re-introduced (again).

Winners: Introverts – If you are an introvert who dislikes social gatherings, then you may welcome the respite from gatherings because of Phase 2 (Round 2). Team bonding activities (some ideas here), family gatherings, and even small networking sessions done over dinner and drinks are likely to take a step back in the next few weeks.

Winners: If you enjoy working from home – If you enjoy working from home and have been bemoaning the fact that you have been expected to show us in the office again by your boss, then you may be silently pleased that the latest regulation states that only 50% of employees who can work from home are allowed back to the workplace. For teams that allow flexible work arrangements, this wouldn’t make much of a difference. Perhaps, the biggest impact it makes is that with the 50% ruling back in place, meetings are going to move back online again.

Read Also: The New Normal: Will 2021 Be Better For Businesses & Workers?

Losers: Owners of gyms, fitness studios – The obvious big losers are the owners of gyms, fitness, and health studios that will need to close for the next three weeks. However, there was an update made by Sports Singapore on 7 May 2021 that provided some additional guidance on what’s allow and what’s not. In my opinion, some of the rules still seem unclear, so I won’t be surprised if there are clarifications made over the next few days.

Losers: Event Organisers, Cinema Operators – Like gym and fitness studio operators, event organisers already had a torrid time in 2020 with large-scale events pretty much being non-existent in 2020. Now, with the added restrictions in Phase 2 (Round 2), events are likely to take a big hit (again) in the near few months. In the co-sharing office that we work out from, an event that was originally slated to take place on 7 May Friday was cancelled at the last minute.

Cinema capacity will also be reduced to 100 attendees. This can increase to 250 attendees with pre-event testing. With pre-event testing for the couple, marriage solemnisations can proceed with up to 250 attendees. With pre-event testing for all attendees, wedding receptions can also proceed with up to 250 attendees. However, it will be tricky having to rearrange from 8 pax for each table to a maximum of 5 pax per table.

Losers: F&B Companies – With the reduction of the number of pax per table from 8 to 5, and with safe distancing still required between each group, F&B operators will likely see lower numbers of overall customers and also a lower spend per group. For us, we have already resized two gatherings that we have next week from the original number of 8 pax to 4 pax. So while F&B companies can continue operating, the revenue spent per group will be lower in Phase 2 (Round 2) for them.

Read Also: [Photo Story] Building A Resilient Workforce: A Glimpse Into The Future Of Hybrid Offices

Lastly, if for any reason you have not downloaded the TraceTogether app or have used the TraceTogether token, you may wish to note that from 17 May 2021 onwards, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE) will be implemented nationwide. You can find the full list of places where TT-only SE will be compulsory from 17 May onwards. So get yourself ready for Phase 2 (Round 2) now.

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