What Orchard Road looks like during the circuit breaker

Right now, I am staying in a serviced apartment in River Valley while waiting for my new apartment to finish renovations. In fact, renovation hasn’t started yet and will not start until the circuit breaker is lifted in the beginning of June. Which means that I will temporarily be staying in the serviced apartment for close to two months.

In the mean time, I am getting used to the new routine of staying in a rented apartment. Apart from moving our essential stuff from our old flat to the serviced apartment (which took multiple trips over several days, since we had quite a number of items to move despite being only temporary), it is always quite exciting to explore the new neighbourhood, especially discovering anything new or interesting eateries around. Despite the circuit breaker, and being unable to dine inside restaurants or coffee shops, we can still discovery interesting places to pack our meals that are within walking distance from our serviced apartment.

Furthermore, we are staying close to Fort Canning Park, Somerset and Orchard, which means discovering new an interesting running trails and routes over the coming weeks.

Yesterday I ran from my serviced apartment to Orchard Road. I was pleasantly surprised as to how new our apartment was to Orchard Road. And now, in the midst of the circuit breaker, I was able to witness what Orchard Road looked like devoid of human traffic, at night, on the eve of a public holiday.

While running the length of Orchard Road, it was met with a surreal environment. Never have I witness such emptiness on one of the most popular shopping district in Singapore. There was absolutely no traffic, human, or otherwise. Retail shops were closed, (because these business were deemed non-essential, and thus were forced to close by the government), except for a handful of eateries and restaurants which only offered take-away meals.

Imagine seeing such streets and multiplying by a thousand-fold, with similar sights on every major city on every major country on every continent. This is a once-in-a-generation event, where much of the world is in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading around the world like wildfire. The coordinated measures in place all around the world has worldwide ramifications to our social life, and more importantly the global economy. With such emptiness, the world’s economy literally grinded to a halt overnight.

Singapore is one month into the circuit breaker measures. Recently, the government announced that the circuit breaker will be extended by another month till the beginning of June. And even then, the lifting of the circuit breaker measures will be slow and measured, so as to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections spreading in the community.

It is without doubt that despite the lifting of the circuit breaker in June, life will never be the same in the foreseeable future. Social distancing will still be practiced in many places, crowded events like live performances, arts, and theatrical shows, concerts and cinemas will either continue to be closed, or with strict social distancing measures implemented. Global travel will take even longer to recover, for as long as a handful of countries are still battling the pandemic, the rest of the world will never feel safe. The face of tourism and leisure travel will change forever.

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