News: COVID-19: Guidelines for business resumption in Singapore

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COVID-19: Guidelines for business resumption in Singapore

All businesses are required to implement all necessary safe management measures in order to minimize crowding within their premises and ensure high sanitation and hygiene standards.
COVID-19: Guidelines for business resumption in Singapore

A new set of guidelines has been released by Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) for the gradual resumption of business operations, following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's announcement on 2 May that it would progressively ease some of the tighter circuit breaker measures over the coming weeks. 

Those permitted to resume work from 12 May - such as retail of pet supplies, retail laundry services, manufacturing and onsite preparation of food, the MTI said it will gradually re-open more workplaces, taking into account their importance to the economy and global supply chains, their contribution to local employment and their ability to minimize risks of transmission at their workplaces.

All businesses are required to implement all necessary safe management measures in order to minimize crowding within their premises and ensure high sanitation and hygiene standards.

The measures in the MTI's guidelines include:

  • All events or activities that involve close and prolonged contact amongst participants must be canceled or deferred, as with all social gatherings at the workplace. This includes interactions at staff canteens and being in groups during meals or breaks.
  • Observing high levels of hygiene and cleanliness in accordance with the sector-relevant SG Clean checklists, as well as guidelines from the Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency. 
  • Staggering working hours and break times, to ensure minimized crowing of workers upon arrival/departure, or break times.
  • Implementing SafeEntry at the workplace and encouraging employees to download and activate the TraceTogether application.
  • Employers should ensure all staff, patrons, and delivery personnel on the premises have their masks on.
  • Hand sanitizers should be in place in all high-touch areas.
  • Clearly demarcated queue lines and signage for customers/visitors.
  • Ensure waiting areas for customers/visitors and delivery personnel are clearly identified, with demarcations for safe distancing. 
  • In line with that, businesses must ensure all customers/visitors and delivery personnel observe at least one-meter spacing at all times and do not gather in clusters.

The Enterprise Singapore (ESG) also highlighted that working from home was also strongly encouraged for employees who were able to perform their roles away from the offices, while employees who were required to return to the office and worksites were well-informed of the measures put in place.

Moving forward, the ESG will be advising companies, and working with them to further improve their safe distancing measures and/or sanitation and hygiene practices.

Similar to the MTI's guidelines, these include:

  • Ensuring that only essential employees who have been approved by the Ministry of Manpower return to offices and work sites.
  • Ensuring that all employees in the office and at worksites wear masks at all times.
  • Ensuring one-meter safe distance between workstations, seats in meeting rooms, pantry and common areas.
  • Regular and active monitoring and recording of the health status of all workers and visitors to the workplace.
  • No cross-deployment of workers between offices and worksites and ensuring no interaction of employees during shift changes.
  • Implementing SafeEntry at the workplace and ensuring that employees have downloaded and activated the TraceTogether app.
  • Ensuring regular and thorough cleaning and disinfection of workplaces, especially for common equipment used between shifts.

The Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has stressed that it will "not hesitate to take actions, including fines and stop-work orders, against non-compliant workplaces." Companies can also be charged in court.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to S$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both; Subsequent offenses may face a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both.

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Topics: Life @ Work, Employee Relations, #COVID-19

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