Overview of COVID-19 Pandemic Response in Singapore:
As a small and open economy, Singapore is highly dependent on cross-border
trade and migration. The disruption of the flow of goods and people caused
economic crises worldwide, resulting in a compounding effect on Singapore’s
economy, which contracted by a record 5.8%, considered the worst recession
since the independence of Singapore.

Screenshot of Gov.sg’s COVID-19 WhatsApp update on 11 Mar 2020
(Source: Gov.sg)

As the pandemic worsened in the following months of 2020, Singapore
tightened restrictions on international travel and domestic movement. It
closed its international borders on 22 March and short-term visitors were not
allowed to enter or transit in Singapore. This was followed by a partial
domestic lockdown (known as ‘circuit breaker’) starting on 7 April and ending
on 1 June, including the closure of all workplaces, shops, and schools with strict
social distancing measures between households. Public transportation such as
trains and buses were reduced in response to lower demand while dining in at
eateries was not allowed. On 28 December, Phase 3 began, with a further
relaxation of dine-in restrictions to eight diners per table and increase in
visitors per household to eight. Singapore gradually reopened international
borders, establishing ‘reciprocal green lanes’ and safe travel corridors for
essential and business travel.

On 8 May 2021, the spread of the Delta Variant led to a temporary return to
Phase 26. These frequent changes in dine-in restrictions in response to changes
in pandemic situation have destabilised the F&B industry and have resulted in
a shift towards digital services to increase resilience towards changes.

Summary of COVID-19 Restrictions for “Stabilisation Phase” using “Phase 2 Heightened Alert” measures 
(Source: The Straits Times)

Economic Impact of Dining Restrictions on the F&B Industry:
As mentioned earlier, one particular response implemented by Singapore’s
leadership is restrictions in dining-in at F&B establishments to break COVID-19
transmission. This has significantly affected the Food and Beverage (F&B)
industry in Singapore through drastically altering consumer behaviour for more
than 2 years. In 2020, the F&B sector contracted by 25%, a drastic fall from
0.3% growth in 2019. Sales volume was adversely impacted by weakened
demand caused by the pandemic and the public health measures implemented
to contain it.

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