SINGAPORE: From Sunday (Apr 12), those caught breaking circuit breaker measures will all be fined S$300 instead of getting a written warning, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli has said.
"Enforcement Officers reported that there are still too many people not taking the circuit breaker measures seriously ... stiffer penalties are clearly needed," he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
"From tomorrow, we will no longer issue written warnings. Any offender encountered by our Enforcement Officers will be asked for particulars immediately."
The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) also said more than 3,100 Enforcement Officers and safe distancing ambassadors were deployed on Saturday.
"While there were reduced crowds in parks and markets, we continue to observe too many people gathering and loitering in public places, especially in town and neighbourhood centres," MEWR added.
Police assistance was also required for about 20 cases where members of the public were not cooperative when asked to comply with safe distancing measures.
First-time offenders will face a S$300 fine and repeat offenders will get higher fines, or prosecution in court for "egregious cases".
He added that 3,000 written stern warnings were issued on Saturday. As of Friday, 40 fines and more than 3,100 "stern warnings" were given to members of the public.
"The health and safety of Singaporeans are at risk. It is therefore our top priority and collective responsibility," Mr Masagos said.
Authorities tightened circuit breaker measures further on Saturday, recommending that commuters wear masks on public transport and closing all beaches.
Markets will also refuse entry to people not wearing face masks and food outlets will face fines if their workers do not wear masks or face shields.
Earlier, selected areas in parks and nature reserves were closed, as well as stadiums and other public facilities.