After panic buying, calm returns as public head out to eat, play, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

After panic buying, calm returns as public head out to eat, play

This article is more than 12 months old

A semblance of normality seems to be returning around the country after a surge in panic buying last week sparked by the virus alert level being raised to orange.

Singaporeans are heading out to shopping malls, cafes and nightspots, and necessities are back on shelves at several supermarkets after stocks were replenished.

Shelves at the Sheng Siong Supermarket at Blk 182 Woodlands Street 13 were well stocked with both frozen and fresh food yesterday and toilet paper was in ample supply.

Lawyer Jerrick Lim, 31, said he was out over the weekend to take his two-year-old son to baby gym and swim classes, but noted student numbers at both places were "definitely reduced".

Mr Lim said the carpark at Great World City was full, even if the mall itself felt quiet.

Housewife Y Koh, 40, was with her family and friends, including four kids all below the age of six, at East Coast Park, which she said was not as crowded as on other Sundays, although bike rental shops still had a queue.

Business also appears to have returned to normal at Tampines Mall. New restaurant Tamago-En was full by 11.30am, just 30 minutes after it opened, and a line of about 10 people had formed outside.

Meanwhile, in Keong Saik Road, an area packed with bars and watering holes, Saturday night seemed like business as usual. Restaurants and bars were full, said a source, while cafes also drew high numbers.

But other places over the weekend still saw greatly reduced numbers, both in the heartland and in the Orchard tourist belt, with empty cab ranks at Takashimaya a reminder of the havoc the virus is wreaking on consumer spending.

Photos sent to The Straits Times showed a vastly emptier Ion Orchard yesterday both inside and outside, with the normally packed outdoor stairs devoid of activity.

Industry observers said it will be some time before consumers return to the streets, but many of those ST spoke to are keen to carry on with their daily routines.