Some of these rules may be vague because they were tabled without extensive debating or deliberating and may be revised when the pandemic situation changes.
This post summarizes the top 5 rules of driving in Singapore safely and legally during COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period for private car drivers: when to drive, when to wear a mask, when it is unnecessary to wear a mask, where to park if you drive to exercise, and where to go for exercises.
Taxi drivers, private-hire car drivers, and delivery car drivers have to follow some specific rules and therefore are NOT covered in this post.
Please also note, you are not allowed to drive north to Malaysia during this period. Malaysia has closed the two checkpoints (Sultan Iskandar Complex and Sultan Abu Bakar Complex) for Singapore private drivers since March 18. Movement Control Order has been extended to May 12, 2020.
Rule #1: Stay at home unless you really need to go out
The purpose of the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker is to minimize or slow down the spreading of the virus in the communities in Singapore.
To keep you safe, you should try to stay at home. Once you step out of the door, you may expose yourself to the virus.
Of course, if you have to go out, for example, to buy groceries, to see a doctor, to fetch your family member who has to work, then you are allowed to go out and drive.
Based on the latest recommendations and regulations, you have to wear a mask once you leave your home, or leave your car. Safe distancing is also legally required even among family members (except for infants, toddlers and seniors who need assistance).
Rule #2: You have to wear a mask if you and the passenger are not in the same household
During this pandemic period, you should try NOT to drive with people who are not in your household to minimize the spreading of the coronavirus.
If you have to drive with any person who does not live with you (e.g., your girlfriend), both you and the passenger must wear masks all the time. The only exception is for some seniors, infants or people with special medical conditions.
You need to provide a valid reason for travelling with them (not in your household) in case you are stopped by enforcing officers.
Please note, up to now, there are no roadblocks for checking masks and social distancing (see Clarifications on misinformation regarding the Coronavirus disease 2019). But some witnesses may report your case to the authority.
Rule #3: You do NOT need to wear a mask when you drive alone or you and passengers are from the same household
Many drivers thought wearing a mask is mandatory when driving during the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period.
This is not true.
If you drive alone, you are not required to wear a mask. It is probably not necessary to wear a mask in this case. But you must wear one once you step down from the car, even for a short period (e.g., grab something from the car boot).
If the passengers and you are from the same household (living at the same address), wearing a mask inside the car is not mandatory.
Some drivers may tend to forget to wear a mask when leaving the car, then they may consider wearing a mask all the time including when driving alone.
Good hygiene is important. If possible, wipe your car (especially the steering wheel) and your hands with antibacterial wipes regularly.
A good air purifier may also help.
Rule #4: Park outside of public parks
From April 22, Singapore National Parks (NParks) Board closed all the car parks in parks, gardens, and nature reserves (see all notices here).
So, if you need to drive to a park to exercise, you have to park your car outside the parks or natural reserves. You need to plan it well when leaving home.
It is advised, although not mandatory, you should try to exercise in the open area near your community.
In the park, a family outing is not allowed. All people should exercise alone and safe distancing rules apply to all people including those from the same household.
You are required to wear a mask all the time except when you are engaging in some exercises including running, jogging, cycling, brisk walking, warm-up, walking in hilly terrain (see the list here).
Rule #5: Avoid Ulu places after sunset
If you prefer exercising in an ulu place, you should leave such places before sunset for at least two reasons:
- Safety. Such places normally will be even more ulu during the pandemic.
- In case of an emergency. Although emergency repair and recovery services are still available during the Circuit Breaker period, many car workshops actually closed. The 24-hour emergency recovery team will very likely take a longer time to reach you than in the usual times.
Please note the guideline/suggestion is to exercise in your neighbourhood so that:
- You do not need to drive to exercise.
- The chances of the virus spreading across neighbourhoods are minimized.
As the car parks in all parks were closed for visitors, you need to make sure you can park your car safely and legally when visiting such ulu places.
Do you know how to drive safely and legally during COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period in Singapore now?
If you have any questions about driving a car in Singapore during the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period, you may let us know in the comment box below.
The community will try to help you find the answer or a solution.
For questions on buying a car in Singapore, please check Singapore car ownership guides page.
For questions on driving a car in Singapore, please check Singapore driving guides page.
For maintaining and servicing your car in Singapore, please check Singapore car maintenance guides page.
For driving from Singapore to Malaysia, please check Dring to Malaysia guides page.
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Safe driving! Happy driving!