Back in those days before the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Singaporeans like me will travel at least once a month to our neighboring countries like Johor in Malaysia or Batam in Indonesia. These two locations are popular as it is situated near our country as we can travel by land (Johor) or by sea (Batam) and spend one or two days for our leisure. Not to mention the fact we will also travel to other countries especially in Asia without spending a lot of money since airline tickets are cheap and our Singapore currency offers a higher exchange rate as compared to these Asia countries like China, Thailand, the Philippines, and other Asian countries.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus that started in late 2019 in Wuhan province of China, This COVID-19 virus has spread viciously to other countries around the world. The pandemic situation caused a big impact on the global scale that our Singapore government is forced to implement the first phase of the circuit breaker in Singapore starting from 7th April 2020.
In this circuit breaker, we are basically stuck on the small island of Singapore without the privilege of traveling overseas for our business trip or entertainment. During the first phase of the circuit breaker, Singaporeans are also not allowed to gather in large groups, attend physical live events, go to gyms, dine in restaurants or bars, and even need to work from home if possible.
For example, many working adults used to spend eight to nine hours working in the comfort of their office without any distraction from their family members. Now they will need to deal with constant distraction from their elderly parents or kids during their working hours which is not an easy task for most of them. Many F& B businesses are also affected badly as they depended on dine-in crowds that result in more than 80% revenue loss during this circuit breaker phase.
When the second phase of the circuit breaker starts from 19th June 2020, our Singapore government allows us to meet our friends in a group of five people, dine in F& B outlets like restaurants, hawker centers, and coffeeshop without the need for takeaway. Retail malls and public facilities are also allowed to open which has provided a small relief for us to go outside and entertain ourselves.
As a Singaporean who has lived in this small country for more than 30 years, I have realized that this COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyle and habits in such a way that it is difficult for us to revert it back when this pandemic ends in the future. Recent statistics have shown that most working professionals in Singapore prefer to work from home than spending additional time traveling to their office to work.
We have also spent more time indulging in video games or watching movies at home instead of meeting our friends to socialize. Working out at home has recently become a new trend for most people when sports facilities and gyms are closed during the first phase of the circuit breaker. E-commerce sales like Lazada and Shopee have increased dramatically during the circuit breaker as we have more budget to buy our favorite things online instead of saving our money for our overseas trip which is restricted for now.
Honestly speaking, most Singaporeans like me are still craving to travel overseas in the future once this pandemic is over. But for now, we can only do our best to cope with the current COVID-19 lifestyle by staying indoors to avoid any contact with this deadly coronavirus.