In an effort to curb the escalation of locally-transmitted COVID-19 infections, the Singapore government announced “circuit-breaker” measures on 3 April 2020. From 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive) (the “Relevant Period”), schools and “non-essential” workplace premises will be closed so as to minimise movements and interactions in public and private places. In line with the “circuit-breaker” measures, the Singapore courts will hear only “essential” and “urgent” matters during the Relevant Period. (Source)
As announced by the Singapore Government on 5 April 2020 and 21 April 2020, certain Legal Services and matters are considered Essential Services.
The Circuit Breaker (CB) period may not be instantly appealing to some — limiting their access to entertainment, socialisation and yes, bubble tea. But according to Singapore charities, CB has produced mainly positive effects and health benefits to Singaporeans across the board.
Bridging the gap between family members
In high-stress Singapore, life is generally fast-paced and hectic. Families rarely get to spend time at home together and parents are usually too busy to interact with their children and be updated on what’s going on in their lives. With the CB, most families have enjoyed the luxury of having the time and space to pause, reflect and recharge.
As one person noted, one doesn’t necessarily have to go on holiday or splash out on an expensive event for families to grow closer and get to know each other. They simply need to enjoy each other’s company during these quieter times.
For teenagers and schoolchildren who are vulnerable to peer pressure and bullying at school, being out of school and at home means that they’re isolated from toxic peer pressure and the effects of bullying. This period also allows them to reconnect with their parents and smooth out any existing relationship bumps.
A time to sit back and dial down
For working adults, the CB also presented an opportunity to catch up on some me-time and good quality rest. Many Singaporean workers silently suffer from burnout — something that’s only formally recognised as a medical condition in 2019. With the start of the CB in April this year, many overworked workers were able to work from home at least several days a week.
For most, working from home means not having to spend the unnecessary time commuting to and from work, hence, this arrangement allows them to spend more time getting quality sleep and eating proper, healthy meals. After work, most workers would also still have time to spend working out, reading, watching movies, or working on a personal hobby.
Social worker Evangeline Yeh, founder of non-profit organisation Unity Movement, said it is crucial for individuals to think about what routines or aspects of their lives helped them during the circuit breaker period and keep them for good. These lifestyle changes are beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Families who are able to cope and navigate relationships at home and utilise the CB period as an opportunity to work on their relationship will emerge with stronger mental and emotional well-being. Most of all, striking a good work-life balance demands the ability to adjust and adapt in an ever-changing environment