Enhanced safety measures in Little India ahead of Deepavali

Enhanced safe management measures will be in place in Little India in the lead-up to Deepavali to prevent overcrowding, the authorities said yesterday.

Barriers will be put up at the popular pedestrian crossing at the junction of Campbell Lane and Serangoon Road between 6pm and 1am from Oct 29 to 31, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The same crossing will also be blocked off from 6pm on Nov 3, the eve of Deepavali, to 2am the next day.

This is as more visitors are expected in Little India in the run-up to the Festival of Lights.

"Human traffic will be redirected to two other crossings in Sungei Road and Dunlop Street," STB said.

"This will ensure that crowds are spread across the precinct, and prevent choke points during peak periods."

STB said it will be working with businesses in Little India to ensure they do not extend their wares onto the pedestrian walkways as this may narrow the lanes and lead to crowding.

Some businesses will also extend their operating hours to allow shoppers to spread out their visits.

Mr C. Sankaranathan, chairman of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, told The Straits Times: "We are now shifting to a new normal of living with the virus.

"In such a scenario, we need to allow a normal lifestyle and festival activities with sufficient safe measures in place."

The enhanced measures are an attempt in that direction, he said, adding that the association will encourage businesses in Little India to be more proactive in reminding visitors to observe safe distancing measures.

This is the second year the major Hindu festival is being celebrated amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the night bazaar remains suspended this year, visitors can enjoy food trails, heritage tours, cooking demonstrations, treasure hunts and competitions such as a TikTok dance challenge.

Deepavali, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil, falls on Nov 4 this year. - THE STRAITS TIMES