Lucky Neighbors! Singaporeans Can Work Out, Eat Out Again

Time to wine and dine, la!
A man lifts weights at a fitness center Friday, June 19, 2020, in Singapore.
Photo/s: AP/YK Chan

Singaporeans can wine and dine at restaurants and work out at the gym again.

They can also have dinner parties, as long as there are not more than five people at a time, as the city-state removed most of its pandemic lockdown restrictions.

The latest relaxation comes as reopenings in many places around the world are touching off fresh spikes in infections, raising questions about how to live with the coronavirus without causing unnecessary deaths or economic catastrophe.

Singapore's malls, gyms, massage parlors, parks and other public facilities reopened their doors with strict social distancing and other precautions.

"It was a long awaited experience, I would say. It's been quite a few months long," said Thomas Tan, a 34-year old customer service officer eating in an outdoor market. "It's good to be able to eat outside with friends but there still must be social distancing."

After at first appearing to have been a model for containing the virus, the country of only 5.8 million has one of the highest infection rates in Asia with 41,473 cases, mostly linked to foreign workers' dorms.


Authorities say such cases have declined, with no new large clusters and a stable number of other cases despite a partial economic reopening two weeks ago.

Wee Cheng Yan, a gym trainer, said it felt good to return to work after two months at home.

"Definitely, interaction has been lacking the past few months," he said. "Watching a lot of TV. Doing a bit of resistance band training, which is not as effective as working out in the gym."

Members of the gym still must make appointments and are limited to only two hours a day. The steam rooms remained shut and clients must wear masks at most times.

Contact sports, concerts, trade fairs, singing lessons and mass religious meetings are still banned and entertainment venues such as cinemas, karaokes and bars remain shut.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 8.4 million people worldwide and killed more than 453,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual number is thought to be much higher because many cases are asymptomatic or go untested. 

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