End of circuit breaker - what does Phase One mean for drivers

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Singapore will step out of its circuit breaker on June 2, 2020, with a gradual plan to transition to normalcy. In order to keep the virus situation under control, Singapore's economy will be reopened gradually in three phases.

However, if you are intending to shop for a new car at the showrooms immediately after the circuit breaker, you will have to take a rain check on it.

Here's what you need to know about the upcoming phased approach as the end of Singapore's circuit breaker measures draws near.

Car showrooms remain closed

As Singapore transitions into 'Phase One' upon exit of the circuit breaker period, more critical sectors and businesses with lower transmission risks will be allowed to operate while complying with safe management requirements - safe distancing rules such as the use of masks must still be observed.

The first phase is expected to last for at least four weeks.

An official list of businesses and services that are permitted from June 2, 2020, categorised by their Singapore Standard Industrialisation Codes (SSIC), has been released.

Car dealers, with the SSIC code 47311 - 'Retail sale of motor vehicles except motorcycles and scooters' are not in the list and, hence, will not be allowed to resume operations on June 2.

Test drives of vehicles will still not be possible, thus you won't be able to shop for a new car at the showrooms immediately after the circuit breaker measures are lifted.

Car repair and maintenance services will resume

The good news for drivers, is that SSIC code 95301 - 'Repair and maintenance of motor vehicles (including installation of parts and accessories)' is in the list.

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This includes many kinds of car repair services such as mechanical repairs, electrical repairs, bodywork repair, repair of screens and windows, repair of motor vehicle seats, spraying and painting, ordinary servicing as well as installation of parts and accessories.

It means that almost all motor repair and accessories workshops will be able to resume their services. Car owners will be able to get their vehicle needs such as routine servicing, completed as opposed to how only essential repairs were allowed during the circuit breaker period.

Meanwhile, businesses that are registered with the SSIC code 95302 - 'Car washing and related services', are not in the list.

Phase Two and Phase Three

If the community transmission rates remain low and stable during Phase One, Singapore will move on to the second phase.

In the second phase, more businesses, including retail outlets, tuition and enrichment centres, gyms as well as fitness studios can reopen - safe distancing measures will still apply. Small social gatherings and dining in at food and beverages can also be allowed.

Car showrooms, while being a retail operation, have not been explicitly stated as one of the businesses to be allowed in the second phase. This phase comprises of several steps and can last a few months before the transition into the third phase.

The third phase will be the 'new normal' until a vaccine for the virus is found. At this stage, social, cultural, religious and business gatherings should be resumed, with a limit on gathering sizes.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article was first published in sgCarMart.com