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92 people caught breaching COVID-19 measures at hawker centres during 'stepped-up' enforcement action: NEA

92 people caught breaching COVID-19 measures at hawker centres during 'stepped-up' enforcement action: NEA

A customer sitting on a cordoned off seat at Whampoa Food Centre (left), man not wearing mask properly at Tiong Bahru Market. (Photos: NEA)

SINGAPORE: Enforcement action was taken against 92 people for breaching COVID-19 measures at hawker centres over three days last week, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday (Oct 19).

They were found gathering in groups of more than two, failing to keep to a 1m safe distance and not wearing masks, said the agency.

The checks, conducted from Oct 15 to 17, included Newton Food Centre, Whampoa Food Centre, Haig Road Market & Food Centre, Golden Mile Food Centre, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre.

The checks were part of "stepped-up enforcement action for breaches of safe management measures at hawker centres", said NEA. 

NEA said that surveillance cameras have been set up at selected centres to complement the physical monitoring of compliance with safe management measures.

The agency also sought the public's support in working with safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers. 

"The authorities take a serious view of those who verbally or physically abuse public officers and will press charges in court where warranted," NEA said.

Gathering in a group of more than two at Tekka Centre. (Photo: NEA)

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN AGAINST THOSE BREACHING VACCINATION-DIFFERENTIATED MEASURES

Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures came into effect at hawker centres and coffee shops on Oct 13.

Under the new measures, only people who are fully vaccinated can dine in at hawker centres in groups of two. Unvaccinated children aged 12 and below may also be part of the group of two.

People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated can only buy takeaway food from hawker centres, in line with earlier measures put in place for other food and beverage outlets.

Since Oct 13, safe distancing enforcement officers have "taken an advisory approach", said NEA. 

Thus far, more than 800 unvaccinated or partially vaccinated diners have been found to infringe the differentiated measures. They were urged to finish their meal and leave the hawker centre promptly.

Starting from Wednesday, enforcement action will be taken against such people, said the agency, adding that police assistance will be requested for those who refuse to cooperate with safe distancing enforcement officers.

"We continue to encourage seniors to minimise dining activity at hawker centres and opt for takeaway food instead. Where possible, request for household members or neighbours to purchase takeaway food on their behalf."

The NEA said that it has worked closely with town councils on implementing the differentiated measures. Safe distancing ambassadors and town council personnel will continue to remind patrons of the restrictions on dining in.

Checks on vaccination status are not conducted at entry points to avoid queues and inconvenience for those entering the premises to purchase food for takeaway.

NEA and the Hawkers' Association have also explained to stallholders that they do not need to check patrons’ vaccination status.

"Safe distancing enforcement officers will conduct selective checks of patrons who are dining in," NEA said.

Diners can either show enforcement officers their vaccination verification on the TraceTogether (TT) App, or provide their TT token to be scanned to prove their vaccination status.

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Source: CNA/nh(rw)

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