SINGAPORE: The Chinese New Year street light-up will not be turned on for four days as part of additional measures to better space out crowds in Chinatown, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) on Friday (Feb 5).
In a press release, MSE said the light-up along South Bridge Road, New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street will not be turned on from Feb 5 to Feb 7, as well as on Feb 11.
Visitors who would like to observe the festive light-up are encouraged to do so on weekdays or to visit the Chinatown Festivals website for a 360-degree virtual tour of the light-up, which begins on Friday.
Additionally, the up-riding escalator at Chinatown MRT station's Exit A to Pagoda Street will be closed "from time to time, depending on the street-level crowd situation", said MSE. Passengers will be guided by station staff members to alternative exits at the MRT station.
This is to manage the flow of passengers entering directly onto Pagoda Street, said the ministry.
Access control measures may be implemented at Pagoda Street and Trengganu Street during peak hours over the weekends to ensure sufficient space for visitors. Visitors should consider the additional time needed to walk and queue in order to enter the busier stretches of Pagoda Street and Trengganu Street.
Other measures may be implemented for crowd management and visitor safety depending on the ground situation, including closing Temple Street to motor traffic, said MSE.
READ: Cap of 8 visitors per day in each household from Jan 26 as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures
Earlier this week, the Singapore Tourism Board said that a total of 34 people have been fined in Chinatown since Jan 15 for not wearing face masks or for gathering in groups of more than eight. Each person was fined S$300.
During the same period, 11 businesses in Chinatown were issued composition fines ranging from S$1,000 to S$2,000 for failing to ensure 1m safe distancing between customers and for allowing gatherings of more than eight people.
Over the Chinese New Year period, households have been directed to only accommodate eight visitors or less, with COVID-19 task force co-chair Lawrence Wong last month instructing that people limit themselves to visiting no more than two households per day.
“We only need to recall what happened last year when we indeed saw a spike in cases after Chinese New Year, and we had many clusters linked to Chinese New Year gatherings.
“This was last year, we don’t want a repeat of that happening. And that’s why we are making a pre-emptive move now to tighten some of our measures," Mr Wong had said in a press conference in January.