No let-up in safe distancing enforcement in phase two
Officers to ensure people are socially responsible as they enjoy activities they had been deprived of for weeks
With phase two of the reopening of the economy starting today, the authorities are leaving little to chance.
As people step out of their homes to enjoy activities they had been deprived of for weeks, such as eating out, frolicking in parks or at beaches, or enjoying that oh-so-Singaporean pastime of shopping, they will not be quite by themselves.
Somewhere nearby, you can bet there will an enforcement officer or two, maybe three, making sure these people continue to adhere to safe distancing rules while having a good time.
Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) told The New Paper yesterday that additional enforcement personnel will be deployed where needed.
ESG has more than 600 enforcement officers and safe distancing ambassadors who make daily checks of about 12,700 businesses at 95 malls across the island.
With many of these businesses reopening during phase two, its officers will be making sure they have safe management measures in place, such as SafeEntry, proper queue markings, crowd control during peak periods, and ensuring customers and employees wear their face masks properly.
STB's pool of 150 enforcement personnel conduct twice-daily checks in the tourist precincts of Chinatown, Little India and Orchard Road.
They also make checks at licensed hotels and hostels, attractions and the two integrated resorts.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, which oversees safe distancing enforcement at public spaces in Housing Board estates, said it will adjust the number of personnel deployed in phase two, if necessary.
About 3,000 of its enforcement personnel are deployed daily, including at hawker centres and wet markets.
Announcing phase two on Monday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong stressed that it was not a licence for people to let their guard down and do all their favourite activities.
The ministers, who co-chair the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said that while social gatherings of up to five people are permitted in phase two, people must still wear face masks and follow safe distancing rules, or risk a resurgence of coronavirus infections.
WAIT A FEW MORE DAYS
Their warning may have hit home. Most of the 40-plus people of different ages and backgrounds The Straits Times spoke to said they would stay home for at least a few more days. Even those planning to socialise with friends said they would take precautions, such as meeting in a less crowded place.
University student Cheryl Tan, 22, told ST: "If the mad rush to bubble tea stores and shopping malls before the circuit breaker (started) was any indicator, I wouldn't want to be caught in the human tidal wave in phase two."
For businessmen like Mr Nizam Uddin Miazee, 44, phase two means the chance to reopen his electrical appliance store in Yishun.
He said: "No work means no money, so the circuit breaker was a challenging time... Today, things will feel like they are going back to normal."
In phase two, most businesses can reopen, including personal health and wellness and home-based services.
Parks, playgrounds, beaches and sports facilities such as gyms and swimming complexes, including those at condominiums, can also reopen.
As part of their daily work, staff from the National Parks Board (NParks) will be patrolling gardens, parks and nature reserves to enforce safe distancing measures, said NParks' group director of parks, Ms Sophianne Araib.
Drones will continue to be deployed in selected parks and nature areas during peak periods to provide NParks officers with a high vantage point to obtain visitorship updates quickly.
Parkgoers can visit the Safe Distance @ Parks portal for latest updates on visitorship levels.
"With the opening of more amenities in phase two, we would like to encourage park visitors to be socially responsible and observe safe distancing measures for their own safety and that of their family and friends," Ms Araib said.
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