Asia Minute: Asia Re-Opens in Various Phases

May 26, 2020

States are taking different approaches on slowly re-opening businesses. That’s also true for countries, where two key economies in Southeast Asia are moving into a new phase.

Countries in Asia are starting to gradually re-open, but that has different meanings in different locations with restrictions all around.

You can go shopping at a mall in Manila now, but you will receive a time card as you enter because you can only stay for an hour. Restaurants are open, with physical distancing and masks and gloves for staff.

You’re allowed to go to church in the heavily Catholic Philippines, but the size of the congregations will be greatly reduced and names and addresses will be collected at the door. Surveillance cameras will also be part of the sanctuary — none of this is designed to interfere with religious freedom, it’s all about contact tracing in case someone gets sick, there will be a record of who was at church, and video evidence of who was sitting nearby.

Singapore is still another week away from loosening restrictions at places of worship, and there will be limits — up to five members of a family can pray together, ten people can be at a wedding. You’ll be able to get a haircut, go to the dentist, and visit the acupuncturist.

But unlike the Philippines, you won’t be able to eat at a sit-down restaurant — not yet. That’s still for a future date on Singapore’s phased re-opening.