SINGAPORE: Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza will soon implement odd and even date entry restrictions on weekends, to better manage crowds and ensure that safe distancing can be observed, announced Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Aug 21).
From Aug 29, those whose NRIC or FIN numbers end in even digits (0,2,4,6,8) can only visit the two malls on even dates on weekends, while those whose numbers end in odd digits (1,3,5,7,9) can only do so on odd dates. This will only be in place on Saturdays and Sundays.
Speaking at a COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce press conference, Mr Gan noted that where “persistent non-adherence” to COVID-19 measures is observed, the Government will continue to tighten requirements.
READ: Households with more than 5 people may book more than 1 table in F&B outlets; more exercise classes in open spaces
“We did something similar for our more popular markets recently, so it is a system that we are familiar with,” said Mr Gan, adding that the task force will continue to monitor the situation, and that other premises that face similar crowd management issues may also be required to adopt this entry restriction if necessary.
“These measures illustrate the approach we have adopted, which is to regularly calibrate our measures to balance the risk of transmission and facilitating a new COVID normal situation,” said Mr Gan.
Mr Gan also urged the public to stay vigilant and “not let up on the discipline” developed over these few months.
“This way, we can keep our case numbers down and keep our families, our friends and fellow Singaporeans safe.”
Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza, which are popular with foreign domestic workers in Singapore, attract large crowds and long queues during weekends, when helpers typically take their rest days.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said in a joint press release on Friday evening that Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza typically reach their maximum occupancy limits by noon on Sundays, resulting in long queues forming at the entrances. This disrupts pedestrian flow and causes large crowds to spill over, they added.
READ: Domestic workers should avoid 'congregating in big groups' on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening: MOM
“Members of the public also congregate outside the malls, further disrupting the pedestrian flow,” said STB and ESG, adding that they have worked with both malls to improve the flow and demarcation of queues.
“Neighbouring malls have also been engaged to help disperse crowds which congregate outside their malls, by cordoning off public seating and stepping up patrols.”
With the odd and even date entry restrictions in place, all visitors must produce appropriate identification at the entrance of the two malls, and those who cannot do so will be denied entry, said STB and ESG.
READ: Singapore to allow travellers from New Zealand, Brunei; will waive stay-home notice but test them for COVID-19 on arrival
“STB and ESG will continue to explore other longer-term measures to reduce the crowds at both malls. These include stepping up public education and intensifying enforcement efforts where required.”
Mr Alan Yeo, ESG’s director for retail and design said: “The entry restriction measure implemented at popular wet markets has been effective in evening out the crowds. With the entry restriction implementation at Lucky Plaza and Peninsular Plaza, we hope that it will help these popular malls to reduce crowding issues on the weekends and provide a safer shopping environment for all.”
In their press release, STB and ESG also urged businesses to continue adhering to safe management measures, including the implementation of SafeEntry, ensuring proper queue markings and crowd control during peak periods, and ensuring patrons and employees wear their masks appropriately.
“Businesses that do not implement or comply with the government’s safe distancing advisories may be ineligible for government grants, loans, tax rebates and other assistance,” added the agencies.
Watch the full news conference and Q&A session: