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Singaporean youths react to lifting of most COVID-19 measures from Apr 26

As part of the measures, the DORSCON level is being lowered from Orange to Yellow.

Caleb Lau
Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.


Published: 23 April 2022, 2:07 AM

Singapore is taking its biggest step towards living with COVID-19 yet, with most measures to be eased from Tuesday (Apr 26).

As part of the move, the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) framework will be lowered from Orange to Yellow. 

This will come about a month after COVID-19 measures were eased slightly in March. On Friday, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced that Singapore will remove limitations on social gathering sizes, safe distancing requirements, as well as SafeEntry and TraceTogether check-ins for most places.

 

mcdonalds-youths-queuing-safe-distancing
Singapore had previously stepped up the DORSCON level to Orange back in February 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/​​KHALISA ZULKIFLEE

 

As for workplaces, all employees will be able to return and have their masks removed in settings without physical interaction and facing customers.

Youthopia spoke to seven youths to find out their reactions and concerns towards the latest easing of measures: 

Ready for the endemic phase

“I’m quite pleasantly surprised by how fast things are moving and I do not have a problem with any of the restrictions being lifted. I feel that it’s about time that the restrictions are removed since it’s always been one step forward and two steps back with the measures. 

“This news really shows the Government’s commitment to treating the pandemic as an endemic and moving forward.

 

malls-safeentry-tracetogether-token-apr-26
Malls will no longer require patrons to use SafeEntry and TraceTogether check-ins before entering from Apr 26 onwards. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CEDRIC CHAN

 

“I think the standing down of TraceTogether would be the updated measure that personally affects me the most. I really dislike having to take out my phone to scan the QR code just to enter a location, especially if the place is busy and there is a large crowd.” – Kavinash Dinesh, 19, Student

Looking forward to more exciting Hari Raya festivities this year

“I’m very pleased because it is really about time the country returns to normalcy like how we once were. 

“I am most excited with the removal of the group size limit. I have a large family and we haven’t had a family gathering ever since the restrictions were imposed two years ago. 

“Initially, my family planned to only visit my grandparents’ house on the first day (of Hari Raya). But now, we can visit other family members and that is really wholesome. I haven’t seen some relatives ever since COVID-19 started. 

“The buses and taxis to Malaysia also make it easier for me to visit relatives living there.

“The lifted restrictions means that we can have more than 10 in a household, and that will definitely lighten up the Hari Raya spirit.” – Nur Sabrina Binte Samat, 20, Admin

Excited to travel and go out with a bigger group of friends

“I saw DORSCON Yellow coming but I didn’t think that the measures would drop or ease further so soon given that we just eased measures not too long ago. Generally, I feel quite happy that we are moving towards life pre-COVID-19.

“The updated measure that affected me the most is the removal of social gathering limits. This means I don’t have to worry about meeting the limit for gatherings when I meet my friends, or when my family brings their friends over to our house. It feels surreal that we get to do this again after two years of ever-changing limitations to social gatherings. 

 

friends bar dining singapore marina bay sands
Due to the previous restrictions of up to 10 people per gathering, many had to scale back on group outings with their friends so as to keep within the limits.. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN

 

“For me, the direct impact would be that I can meet more people at one time, which drops all limitations to my church group gatherings. The easing of pre-departure tests doesn’t impact me much now, but rather in the future when I complete my full-time National Service and can finally travel overseas with family and friends. 

“However, my biggest concern would be facing another surge in cases should a new variant emerge. The other concern is having to squeeze among crowds or face longer queues.”  Basil Wee, 21, NSF

Glad for the end of the troublesome SafeEntry check-in era

“I’m most excited for the removal of SafeEntry. It’s going to make running errands and moving about so much easier again.

“SafeEntry was probably the most annoying thing about the pandemic for me, so it’s nice to know I can finally enter my neighbourhood mall from any entrances again.

“The relaxation of restrictions doesn’t raise any major red flags to me. The one big concern I have is that having things open up could lead to more COVID-19 cases. But I think we’re ready to handle that given the Government’s positive outlook. Singaporeans exercising personal responsibility will definitely help mitigate this.”  Randeep Bhullar, 22, NSF

Worried about braving the crowds as a vulnerable person

“To be honest, I’m quite worried. I’ll be seeing and interacting with people more than I have been this entire pandemic, in more potential mask-off situations too. Now that there’s no limit to group sizes, there’ll be a higher chance of me coming across someone who’s carrying the virus.

“The pandemic isn’t entirely over and people won’t really be keeping to safety measures to prevent any spread. I’m scared that cases will climb again and I’ll have a higher risk of developing complications if I catch COVID-19, since I’m more vulnerable than most others due to my existing medical conditions. I’ll have to take extra measures to make sure I don’t catch it, but I’m afraid of coming across as paranoid if I continue sanitising everything and keep my mask on even when I don’t have to.

“For Hari Raya, I’m looking forward to seeing all my cousins, uncles and aunts together in one place after so many years of only seeing them separately. But everyone is going to do a mad scramble to look for baju kurung and food and I suspect all the usual locations to find these items will be very packed. 

“Despite my concerns, I’m still excited about the relaxed capacity limits for large events. I’ve always enjoyed going to events and watching live performances. The changes mean that there’ll be more events potentially happening in the near future. I’m looking forward to attending them with my friends again.” – Nurul ‘Afaf bte Badrolhisham, 22, Student

Wishes for some existing arrangements to stay

“I feel relieved that we are finally moving to a truly endemic society where we learn to live with the virus. Restrictions being lowered means we can finally do activities that were once considered normal.

“However, I’m concerned that the numbers might spike which might make the Government potentially place restrictions again. 

“I think remote working arrangements should be integrated regardless of COVID-19 or not. We have to recognise that productivity can exist without going to the office. Some people may even be more productive in the comfort of their own homes.

 

working-from-home-employees
Despite the latest measures allowing all employees to return to the office, some have made themselves more comfortable with the routine of working from home for the past two years. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA

 

“While I understand the need for working in an office in some industries, I hope companies can recognise the validity of remote working arrangements as well.” – Teo Yin Yan, 20, Student

Not a cause for celebration just yet

“The sudden change is surprising, but I welcome it. Nevertheless, I feel we can’t rest on our laurels and goad ourselves into thinking the pandemic is over.

“The relaxing of safe distancing measures is definitely the game changer. Working at a food and beverage establishment, it is a good problem to have, so to say – it will get really busy these coming days. No restrictions on group sizes and the removal of safe distancing would mean larger crowds in an understaffed restaurant such as the one I work in.

“As someone who already works full-time at the office, I will miss taking buses and trains that aren’t so crowded, since more people are expected to head back to the office. While I prefer going to the office, others may prefer otherwise, so I do hope that companies can keep work-from-home arrangements flexible and accommodating. 

“Only time will tell – it’s exciting news as we ease back into the normal, but we should be ready to go back to stricter measures.” – Lua Ker Hian, 24, Intern

Written by Caleb Lau, Amanda Tan, Charlotte Chang, Shannon Kuan, Aung Nyi Htet, Nicki Chan and Harshiyne Maran


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