Nearly 700 fines issued for smoking in prohibited areas in a month since start of circuit breaker: NEA

Nearly 700 fines issued for smoking in prohibited areas in a month since start of circuit breaker: NEA

Cigarette butt
File photo of a cigarette butt. (Photo: REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot)

SINGAPORE: Close to 700 fines have been handed out to people found smoking in prohibited areas between the start of the "circuit breaker" on Apr 7 and May 6, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday (May 13).

This is a 65 per cent decrease from the nearly 2,000 tickets issued in the same period last year.

However, NEA said there has been a 20 per cent increase in enforcement action taken at common areas such as corridors, staircases and void decks of residential estates when compared to the same period last year.

"These areas are generally not located near smoking corners, so the increase does not seem to be related to the closure of designated smoking areas and smoking corners during this period," said the agency. 

"NEA would like to remind members of the public that smoking is prohibited along common corridors, void decks, staircases and covered walkways of public housing estates."

Singapore is more than a month into its COVID-19 circuit breaker period that has been extended until Jun 1.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore makes 'decisive move' to close most workplaces and impose full home-based learning for schools, says PM Lee

Apart from the closure of schools and most workplaces, authorities had also introduced tighter safe distancing measures such as shutting more businesses. Residents must stay at home as much as possible and only head out for essentials. It is mandatory to wear a mask when stepping out of the house.

READ: COVID-19: Go out alone for essential needs, don't make it a ‘family outing’, say Singapore leaders

SMOKING CORNERS CLOSED

During the circuit breaker period, all Designated Smoking Areas along the Orchard Road No Smoking Zone (NSZ) are closed.

All smoking corners in Singapore, such as those at coffee shops and hawker centres, have also been closed. 

NEA said it will continue enforcement action against people who violate safe distancing measures and those who smoke in prohibited areas.

“Leaving the home just to smoke is not an essential purpose. However, if one is out for essential purposes and wishes to smoke, one may do so in an area where smoking is not prohibited under the smoking prohibition law (e.g. open-air public car park or open spaces in residential estates), with the mask removed,” said the agency.

“However, one must put the mask back on immediately after smoking and keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre from others.” 

The composition fine for smoking in prohibited areas is S$200. Those caught violating safe distancing measures face a S$300 fine.

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Source: CNA/mt(gs)

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