Crowds hit Sentosa beaches ahead of new rule

This article is more than 12 months old

Sentosa will require guests to book their visits during peak periods in about two weeks

Sentosa's beaches were filled with people yesterday, about two weeks before guests will be required to book their visits during peak periods.

Groups of friends and families were spotted at Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong beaches, where some suntanned, played volleyball or held picnics. Others swam or kayaked close to the shore.

For university students Charlene Lee, 19, and Nicole Lin, 20, the upcoming reservation requirement was one of the reasons for their visit to Siloso Beach yesterday.

"In the future, we would be too lazy to book," Ms Lin said.

Since July, the island's three beaches have been segmented into seven zones, each with a capacity limit ranging between 100 and 350 people to allow for safe distancing.

The zones have specific entry and exit points, where visitors are required to check in and out using the SafeEntry digital system.

Yesterday, other safe management measures were in place, for example, "safety rings" which indicated spots where groups of up to five may gather.

Safe distancing ambassadors were also seen patrolling the beaches.

In the Palawan and Siloso beach zones, visitors were issued with wristbands upon admission. These allowed them access to only the respective zone where they had been given the bands.

A Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) spokesman told The Straits Times the wristbands have been progressively introduced to familiarise Sentosa's beachgoers with the upcoming booking requirement.

From Oct 17, beachgoers will have to make online bookings ahead of their visits during peak periods, such as weekends and public holidays.

In a statement last month, SDC said the online reservation system will begin accepting bookings from Saturday, for visits commencing on Oct 17. It will be trialled for an initial period of three months.

Guests may book their entry to a zone up to seven days before their intended beach visit, subject to capacity limits. They may choose from two time slots - in the morning (8am to 1pm), or in the afternoon (2pm to 7pm ) - and make reservations for up to five people in each booking. On the day of the visit, guests would receive wristbands at the beach entry kiosk of their selected zone, after presenting their booking confirmation e-mail for verification.

Some beachgoers said the booking requirement would deter them from visiting the beaches.

University student Terence Lee, 24, who goes to the beaches to get a tan, expects he will visit them less frequently once booking is needed.

"Usually, I just come when I am free... I do not know my schedule in advance," said Mr Lee, who also works part time.