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More enforcement during Chinese New Year period amid surge in Omicron cases: MSE

01:53 Min
Government agencies will step up enforcement at hotspots during the Chinese New Year period, the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE) said on Friday (Jan 28). Leong Jia Yu tells us more. 

SINGAPORE: Government agencies will step up enforcement at hotspots during the Chinese New Year period, the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE) said on Friday (Jan 28).

Additional crowd management measures at popular areas such as Chinatown will also be implemented. 

In anticipation of a rise in footfall to the market and hawker centre at Chinatown Complex, access control with interim fencing is in place at the area.

Patrons will not be allowed to enter once the number of people reaches the stipulated allowable capacity of 300 individuals. 

"The regulation of the inflow of patrons takes into account localised crowding that can occur within the market," said MSE.

"The elderly, especially the unvaccinated, should refrain from visiting the markets during this time, and ask family members or younger friends to assist with purchasing essential items and packing meals."

The National Environment Agency (NEA) and Jalan Besar Town Council have also increased the number of safe distancing personnel deployed, with patrons reminded to wear their masks properly and maintain a safe distance from others. 

To manage crowds along Temple Street, the road will be closed to vehicular traffic from 12pm on Jan 31 to 2am on Feb 1.

Members of the public are strongly urged to plan visits to Chinatown and other popular areas in advance and visit during off-peak hours.

"With the surge in Omicron variant infections in Singapore, we seek everyone’s cooperation to continue to exercise individual responsibility and strictly adhere to (safe management measures). This will help to keep yourselves and the community safe," said MSE. 

A sign reminding people to put their masks at all times in Pagoda Street, Chinatown on Jan 23, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Low Zoey)

SAFE CELEBRATIONS

Prevailing regulations about household guests - up to five unique visitors per day - still apply during the Chinese New Year festive period.

MSE also encouraged individuals to take a self-administered antigen rapid test (ART) in advance of such gatherings, especially if elderly or unvaccinated family members are present. 

The current safe management measures also apply for reunion dinners and other Chinese New Year meals at food and beverage (F&B) outlets. 

When dining out, multiple table bookings for groups larger than five are strictly prohibited unless the diners are from the same household. Intermingling across different tables is strictly not allowed, said MSE. 

Lo hei should also be done without any shouting of auspicious phrases and diners should remain masked when tossing the ingredients. 

"We strongly advise F&B operators to double-check the reservations they have already received to ensure that the bookings are in order," added the ministry.

MSE said that while it understands this festive period is a time for reunion with loved ones, there is a strong need to exercise caution "amid the surging Omicron infections".

"Let us continue to be socially responsible and adhere to prevailing measures. This will allow everyone to enjoy the festivities safely and help Singapore ride through the Omicron wave."

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Source: CNA/fh(zl)

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