Maybe one day I’ll be mature enough to not giggle at it, but as of now, I’m really tickled by how everyone is embracing the term “CCB”, which now stands for “community circuit breaker”, not umm, unpleasant female genitals.
Initially, I didn’t really think this article was necessary because the instructions seemed pretty clear (to me, anyway): if you don’t go will die, then go. If not, stay. at. home.!!!
But it seems that despite being 2 weeks into the Covid-19 circuit breaker month (7 Apr to 1 Jun 2020), people are still confused about what they can or cannot do.
While most of us have been obedient — there has been a 70% to 80% drop in public transport and traffic volume, and only 20% to 40% of people continue to head out — alas! Black sheep remain among us.
According to official reports (as of 14 April 2020), there have been over 6,200 people warned and over 500 people fined so far. Additionally, some jokers were caught and arrested for abusing our safety distancing ambassadors.
Seriously, how can like that!
These circuit breaker measures (however inconvenient) are put in place for our own good, and the longer people flout the rules, the longer they’ll be kept in place. If you understand this, you’re probably in the law-abiding majority. If not… let’s try another approach:
… Do you know how much you can get fined for breaking these CCB rules?!
Covid-19 Circuit Breaker penalties and fines for non-compliance
|Circuit breaker non-compliance||Fine|
|1st offence||Up to $300|
|2nd offence||Up to $1,000 + could face prosecution|
|Those caught using abusive language against public servants||Up to $5,000 and/or up to 12 months jail|
|Food personnel caught not wearing masks / face shields||Up to $5,000 and/or suspension or cancellation of licenses|
|Work pass holders breaching circuit breaker measures||Work pass revoked, barred from working in Singapore|
|Maximum fine amount||$10,000 and/or jailed for 6 months. If you violate these rules twice or more, penalties are doubled.|
So, if you get caught the first time, you can get fined up to $300. Try your luck again and the fine more than triples — going up to $1,000 PLUS possible prosecution.
If you try to play punk and shout at the safety distancing ambassadors who are just trying to do their job, then hoseh liao — get ready for a $5,000 fine and possible jail time.
Reports show that majority get away with a warning — 6,200 warnings vs 500 fines — but it’s not published how the law enforcers decide this. Maybe they look at how severe your offence is. Perhaps they see your face. Either way, they can slap you with a hefty fine, so why risk it?
Although the notice specifies $300 to $1,000 fines for first- and second-time offenders, the official gov.sg FAQ page says fines can go up to a whopping $10,000 + 6-months jail term.
It also says that if you flout the rules repeatedly, the penalty will double. That’s $20,000 + 12 months in jail!
I’m not sure about you, but I think it’s much cheaper to just stay at home.
Businesses are getting fined too
Newer reports also show that it’s not just individuals, but businesses as well, that are flouting circuit breaker rules. According to the official statement on 17 April 2020, the following fines were issued:
Gap Year Hostel — fined $2,000 for not keeping record of individuals who leave the premises each day. Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, hostels who fail to comply can be fined up to $10,000 + 6 months imprisonment (first-timers). Subsequent offences will be subject to double the penalty.
Crave eatery — fined $1,000 for allowing customers and delivery personnel to crowd together.
There were also 13 non-essential businesses caught from 13 to 16 April for operating even though they were supposed to close their retail stores.
We all understand that these businesses are just trying to make a living, and that it is tough to adjust to these new measures and enforce them throughout their operations.
However, with the government clamping down this hard, if you own a business, it’s best to keep up to date with all the new regulations and do your best to comply with them all. A five-figure fine is only going to put you further in the red.
Covid-19 Circuit Breaker measures
Scared already, right? For convenience, I’ve compiled the circuit breaker measures here so you know what is or is not allowed.
Basically, you’re not allowed to leave home unless it’s to carry out an essential errand or service. That means you can’t go hang out at the void deck and lim kopi with your friends, but you can go out to do things like exercise and pick up groceries.
All social gatherings with friends AND FAMILY should stop. That means you can’t visit bae (yes, even if you’re going to get married soon) and you can’t visit your siblings (yes, even if you’re related by blood).
Previously, you could still go out with family members living in the same household as long as you maintained proper distancing. On 20 April 2020 however, PM Lee announced stricter CB measures.
Now, you can only go out to run errands and/or exercise alone (unless you’re accompanying someone needy, like elderly, children or loved ones with disabilities).
If you’re not sure if something is allowed, you can check it against the published list of allowable essential services.
If you want to further minimise being outside, we recommend shopping for groceries and other household necessities online instead. If you don’t already have a credit card for it, check out our list of the best credit cards for groceries and online shopping:
- Best Grocery Credit Cards for NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Cold Storage & Giant
- Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Online Shopping
When you’re outside, you should wear a mask and practise social distancing (i.e. keep at least 1m apart from others). Previously, people said there weren’t enough surgical masks to go around so they didn’t wear them.
However, since the government handed out 1 reusable mask to everyone in Singapore, that excuse won’t fly anymore.
Covid-19 Circuit Breaker exceptions to take note of
The government has posted an FAQ to address concerns over the circuit breaker measures. These are the exceptions listed.
You should not leave the house except:
- To work for or with an essential service provider, specified schools or early childhood development centres
- To send your child to childcare if you and your spouse work for an essential service provider
- To get essential goods and services like buying groceries, cutting hair or doing laundry
- To exercise alone in green or open spaces
- To seek medical help for suspected Covid-19 infection or other urgent treatment
- To provide assistance to seniors (60 years and above) or persons with disability
- To seek or render help in an emergency
- To comply with the law (eg. court order)
- To report for National Service
- To move house
- To leave Singapore
You are not allowed to visit another household except:
- To deliver essential goods or services
- Provide assistance to a senior or person with disabilities
- Seek or render emergency help
- Hawkers, taxi drivers and food delivery riders can eat in public, but they must eat alone or with a 1m spacing from the next person.
- If you are divorced and your children take turns to live with you and your former spouse, this can continue, but you should do your best to limit movement.
- Grandparents can continue to care for grandchildren if 1) both parents are essential service workers, 2) if one parent is a healthcare professional or 3) if one parent is an essential service worker and the child is under 3 years old.
- If not, grandparents can still continue to care for grandchildren they stay together during the circuit breaker period. You should not drop them off on a daily basis as that increases the risk of transmission.
- You can continue to accompany your elderly parent to medical appointments but must take precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining good personal hygiene.
- If you have an elderly neighbour who needs help, you can help out but try to avoid physical interaction. E.g. You can drop off groceries at their door.
- You can engage emergency household services (e.g. plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, etc) but must maintain social distancing.
Bonus: official Covid-19 updates
As you know, there is a lot of fake Covid-19 news going around. Not only is it illegal to share these nonsense (ahem, POFMA), it is also extremely unhelpful to the situation. If you want to keep up to date, follow these official sources.
Ministry of Health: moh.gov.sg/covid-19
WhatsApp updates: go.gov.sg/whatsapp
Telegram updates: go.gov.sg/govsg-telegram
Covid-19 infobot: gov.sg/infobot
PHPC clinics: phpc.gov.sg
Covid-19 symptom checker: sgcovidcheck.gov.sg
TraceTogether app: tracetogether.gov.sg
Singapore budget announcements: singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2020
SG United portal: sgunitedjobs.gov.sg
MOH Covid-19 hotline: 1800 333 9999
National CARE hotline for those facing anxiety and stress: 6202 6868
How are you handling the circuit breaker, are you dealing with cabin fever? Tell us in the comments below.