Government columbaria to close on weekends, public holidays as part of safe distancing measures

Government columbaria to close on weekends, public holidays as part of safe distancing measures

Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium
Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium in Singapore. (Photo: Anne-Marie Lim)

SINGAPORE: As part of stricter safe distancing measures against COVID-19, the government-managed columbaria at Choa Chu Kang, Mandai and Yishun will close on weekends and public holidays until Apr 26.

The three columbaria will open on weekdays 24 hours daily until Apr 24, from Mondays at 8am to Fridays at 5.30pm. On the eve of public holidays, the columbaria will close at 5.30pm, the National Environment Agency said on Wednesday (Mar 25),

With the Qing Ming festival, or the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival, taking place on Apr 4, crowds at columbaria are expected to peak between Mar 21 and Apr 19.

"The intent is to spread the crowd size from the two weekend days to five weekdays," said NEA, adding that the weekday crowd is about 30 per cent that of the weekend crowd.

Many private columbaria have taken similar measures, the agency said.

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NEA urged observers of the festival to “exercise socially responsible behaviour" in view of the COVID-19 situation.

Visitors are requested to:

  • Minimise the family size visiting to no more than four people
  • Not to bring elderly family members and young children
  • Not to prolong their stay in the facilities
  • Avoid crowding around the prayer and joss paper burning areas in the columbaria
  • Keep a safe distance from other visitors, of at least 1m

“Those who feel unwell or are sick should stay at home and see a doctor, and avoid visiting during the Qing Ming peak periods as crowds may be expected at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and government columbaria,” the agency said.

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Further measures may be taken to minimise crowding, such as temporarily stopping access to the columbaria block and closing off joss paper burners.

Common contact surfaces at the columbaria are being wiped down more frequently, hand sanitiser is available at lift lobbies and tables for prayers have been spaced out, NEA said.

"Visitors to our facilities are reminded to keep themselves and others around them safe by observing good hygiene habits, such as binning their litter and keeping the shared spaces clean," it added.

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Source: CNA/nh(cy)