At the start of the “circuit breaker”, most retailers were hit immediately, as the non-essential businesses were forced to close temporarily. Business was not as usual, but all their running costs were.

It took the government a while to respond and give retailers rebates and grants to help offset costs for rental, manpower and the rush to digitalise. Unfortunately, that was not enough to help many tide through the rough period. In September, retail business closures in Singapore reached a 10-month high, with 457 companies calling it quits, according to data from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Retailers, especially the smaller companies that relied heavily on their bricks-and-mortar stores, needed more help than just rebates.

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