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Singapore ‘circuit breaker’ mode – How does this affect businesses?

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed that the country would be going into ‘circuit breaker’ mode for one month, from April 7.

This means that schools and workplaces for all non-essential services will be closed. Work from home is mandated for all non-essential businesses.

What then, are the essential services that will remain open?

Here’s a quick overview from the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore on the Essential Services.

Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore

Is your Business Considered as Offering Essential Services?

More details here: https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/essentialservices/


There have been many businesses negatively affected ever since the COVID-19 situation began. However, there have been several industries amid the current health crisis.  

What Businesses are Booming Right Now?

While there are no actual statistics at this moment, it is pretty obvious from brief discussions with our network of business owners in different industries.

1. Groceries – see the long queues at supermarkets
2. Groceries delivery – right to the doorstep, no need to queue
3. Food delivery – it’s safer to dine in than dine out
4. Online education – makes studying from home possible
5. Online entertainment – leisure is still an important part of life
6. Security – visitor management and control
7. Sanitizer, Facemasks – this has become a daily necessity
8. Cleaning services – cleaniness and hygiene is a key concern
9. Laptop computers – necessary for employees to work from home
10. Remote work services – mostly cloud-based software services
11. Online shopping – people will get used to buying everything on the internet

In the earlier Singapore’s Resilience Budget announced on March 26th, there have been significant enhancements to business productivity grants.

Some of the more impactful grants to most SMEs would include:

  • Enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant – maximum funding support 80% for adoption of productivity software.
  • Enhanced Enterprise Development Grant – maximum funding support 80% for projects that help upgrade business core capabilities, innovation and productivity, and overseas market access.

A more comprehensive view of the Resilience Budget can be found here: https://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/docs/default-source/budget_2020/download/pdf/fy2020_supplementary_budget_summary.pdf

There could also be another Government announcement coming Monday on more that will be done for the people and businesses of Singapore.

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It’s Time for all Businesses to Make Changes

The push for digitisation in Singapore has been going on for the last 30 years, with grants and incentives from the Singapore government. But today, adoption rate is still not optimal. In the current situation that businesses are mandated to shut the workplaces to have staff work from home, there is no choice but to adapt. Adapting would require proper systems in place for effective communications and collaboration. Tools are available with up 80% grant, no reason not to upgrade. There is no indication on how long the COVID-19 situation will last and whether similar will happen again in the future. It’s time to make changes and be prepared.


What’s Next for SGBusinessTalk?

In the coming articles, we will be covering systems and tools recommended for work from home.

If you have any questions about work from home or the budget, leave a comment below and we will try to help as much as possible.

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