COVID-19: Additional control measures to be implemented after crowding observed at some hotspots

COVID-19: Additional control measures to be implemented after crowding observed at some hotspots

East Coast park over the weekend
Large groups gathered at East Coast Park over the weekend of Jul 18 and Jul 19. (Photo: NParks via Facebook/Masagos Zulkifli)

SINGAPORE: Additional measures to ensure safe distancing will be implemented at hotspots and enforcement will be stepped up, after crowding was observed at some popular areas over recent weekends, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Friday (Jul 24). 

Speaking at a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference, Mr Wong said that there have been more people gathering, particularly in beaches and parks, over the past few weekends.

“And that’s why we are stepping up our checks, we are stepping up our enforcement and we are also putting in place enhanced control measures at these popular places,” said Mr Wong. 

For example, agencies will monitor the people who are entering the beaches or the parks and proactively stop people from going in when the areas are close to capacity limits, he said, while also closing the car parks which serve these popular areas.

READ: COVID-19: Some beaches 'extremely crowded' last weekend, Masagos warns against complacency

Under Phase 2 of Singapore's post-"circuit breaker" reopening, the authorities have observed crowding and poor adherence to safe distancing measures at some hotspots, including popular nightspots, beaches, selected malls, parks and in HDB towns, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a separate press release. 

For example, crowds were observed in some parts of East Coast Park on recent weekends, with many in groups of more than five people and without proper safe distancing, said the ministry.

Agencies will put in place “enhanced” crowd control measures at these hotspots, and access to popular public spaces will be temporarily closed off as they approach capacity limits to better manage the flow of people, it said.

Enforcement of safe distancing measures will also be stepped up, said MOH, adding that “firm action” will be taken against breaches of safe distancing measures by individuals and businesses, especially at hotspots. 

Over the last weekend, the National Parks Board issued more than 100 fines to individuals who failed to adhere to safe distancing measures at gardens, parks and nature reserves. 

Two food and beverage (F&B) establishments were also issued suspension notices and fines over the last week - Try Again and Los Amigos along Circular Road - for continuing to breach measures even after warnings were issued, said Mr Wong. 

“So that’s the approach, as we have said we will take. Again we call on all business operators or F&B operators to do their part and take the safe distancing measures seriously, because our safe distancing ambassadors, our enforcement officers are on the ground,” he said.

“If they were to pick up any breaches, then swift enforcement action will have to be taken to ensure the safety of all their customers and all Singaporeans," added the minister. "And that’s why it’s in the interest of business owners and operators to really take these measures seriously.” 

Speaking at the same press conference, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong called for individuals to be socially responsible irregardless of enforcement.

"We cannot and should not rely on enforcement to remind ourselves to be socially responsible," he said. "And this new COVID normal that we need to move to, the role of (the) individual is crucial. Fighting the virus requires significant shifts in behaviour and mindset."

“Some of these changes may be inconvenient, or even painful, but we can change our social norms if you make a collective effort by each playing our part.” 

Watch the full press conference:

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Source: CNA/hw(nc)

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