Post COVID-19 Lockdown Orchard Road | Home Tourist Photo Essay 8

Orchard Road July 2020 Picture
Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza during phase two of Singapore's post COVID-19 circuit breaker measures.

Returning to a mostly empty Orchard Road on a weekday night.

It’s less than 48 hours to Singapore General Elections 2020, and I’m aching to write something about that.

Nope, it’s not because I’m eager to hop onto the local traffic train. I’ve always been interested in local socio-political developments.

The problem though, many events in recent years have convinced me I should permanently remain unconcerned. These, on top of certain laws being implemented last year.

Laws such as …

Anyway, to distract myself, I did something last evening that’s as trite as trite gets as far as local life is concerned. I headed down to Orchard Road for dinner and a look-see.

Of note, this trip was actually my second visit of the shopping stretch since the circuit-breaker­ regulations kicked in; the first was a brief visit a couple of weeks ago after some official chores.

I regret to say that although commercial life is slowly creeping back, the entire area is obviously still languishing. From the looks of things, it looks unlikely to significantly recover anytime soon too.

Outside Ion Orchard

Orchard Road During Post Circuit-Breaker Phase Two Reopening.
Right outside Ion Orchard. I know it’s a Tuesday evening, and there were some people seated at the outdoor benches (not in the picture). But the ambiance was still rather desolate.
July 2020 Orchard Road.
Empty walkway. Empty taxis.

Ngee Ann City

Takashimaya Square July 2020.
A barricaded, empty Takashimaya Square. I remember seeing that “Style Bazaar” backdrop in March. It’s probably going to remain there for a while since retail fairs are still disallowed under Phase 2 regulations.
Takashimaya Basement 1 During Singapore Phase 2 Reopening.
Very few shoppers at Takashimaya Basement 1 too.
Singapore Post Circuit-Breaker Phase 2 Reopening.
A little more traffic outside following sunset.

I ought to mention that while most shops in Ngee Ann City were “intact,” quite a few had shut down too. Most noticeably, Nan Bei Restaurant (one of my parents’ favourite restaurants).

Mandarin Gallery

Mandarin Gallery, July 2020.
The street-level shops at Mandarin Gallery are all still operating. Which is good to see.

Orchard Cineleisure

(Sigh) My weekend hangout spot at Orchard Road for near 20 years, and in part, the reason for this blog. Cineleisure was already doing badly last year. With this whole circuit-breaker business, more shops have gone away. I can only hope that when cinemas reopen next week, some life will return to this favourite mini-mall of mine.  

Orchard Cineleisure July 2020.
Even with the reopening of the Cineplex, it’s going to take a while before business blooms.
Orchard Cineleisure UFO Catchers
The UFO catchers on the second floor were all still there, though.
Cineleisure Orchard closed because of COVID-19.
One more week, before this beloved spot returns to life.
Trolls World Tour Promotion at Orchard Cineleisure, Singapore.
This has been at the entrance since March! I remember seeing it before watching Bloodshot. On the bright side, it implies happiness will never go away?

313@Somerset and Orchard Central

313@Somerset after COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures.
Like elsewhere in Orchard Road, many shops in 313@Somerset were closed by 8 pm. Considering that this is largely the norm in countries like Germany, I guess it’s not really something to despair about.
Don Don Donki Orchard Central Snacks.
My favourite store in Orchard Central was a little low on human traffic too. But the shelves are well-stocked. Which is a good sign. (Some of the shops near my home are full of empty shelves because of supply issues)

COVID-19 and Post Circuit Breaker i.e. Lockdown Singapore

I’ve come to the elephant in the room. Or should I say, the elephant in my mind?

This being my thoughts on the whole COVID-19 situation in Singapore and elsewhere, and the conditioning of everything because of the “circuit-breaker” measures. (Silly name for the regulations, BTW, if you ask me)

I could go on and on with this. And should I do so, I suppose I’d inevitably offend something or someone.

And so I’d just say:

  1. I think the developments since January 2020 show that no country in the world was prepared for a real pandemic. Politicians and leaders might say otherwise but the hard facts show that everything was a matter of, who was lesser prepared.
  2. In the case of Singapore, I wouldn’t say we fare terribly, though neither would I celebrate our response. In some areas, I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement. For example, the forecasting of human reaction to panic and business survival.

My opinions on past events aside, going forward, is it going to be frighteningly tough for individuals and businesses alike? Of course. But disregarding the actual coronavirus, I feel a significant part of the challenge also stems from people and organisations still unwilling to change.

Some cultures and practices have never been awesome to begin with, but people have long resisted change for all sorts of lame reasons. With COVID-19 likely to be with us for a long time, would there still be any reason not to bite the bullet?

But some people will still resist. They will continue to resist and make life hard, even dangerous for others. A good part of the hardship down the road, IMO, would thus be how to deal with such people and organisations.

How would we emerge at the end of this? How would Singapore be? Who knows?

For me, I’m not keeping fingers crossed or having high expectations. I’m just appreciating whatever is still around. This includes things like that Trolls World Tour promotion shown above, and the snacks at Donki. Silly as these sound.

Read my other Home Tourist photo essays.

Post COVID-19 Lockdown Orchard Road | Home Tourist Photo Essay 8
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Post COVID-19 Lockdown Orchard Road | Home Tourist Photo Essay 8
Two weeks after the activation of “phase 2” of the COVID-19 post circuit breaker measures, and it’s obvious Orchard Road has yet to recover.


  1. Wow, the Cineleisure one looks grim. I’ve noticed more boarded up shops in my area mall too. Snacks at Donki are always something to mini-celebrate!

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