Safe distancing officers can enter, inspect homes without warrant: URA
Safe distancing enforcement officers can enter, inspect and search various premises, including residences, without a warrant, to check whether Covid-19 regulations are being complied with, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday.
"Nonetheless, officers will calibrate their approach for each premise, based on the circumstances of each case," it said.
URA provided this response after actor Nick Mikhail posted videos on Instagram about URA officers and police officers entering his home on July 31.
Mr Mikhail first posted a video lasting 7½ minutes which has since garnered 113,000 views. In the video, he questions why officers could enter his home at night without a warrant or a court order.
He was not home at the time, so officers spoke to his wife.
He followed this with another video captured by a closed-circuit television camera showing six officers at his home. On Monday night, he posted another video lasting 15 minutes on the incident.
URA said it has contacted him to address his concerns.
"Since late June this year, agencies have received repeated complaints from residents of the landed housing estate that some residences, including Mr Nick Mikhail's, were having gatherings of more than the permitted number of visitors. There were also complaints about the noise from the alleged gatherings," it said.
"In response, officers from different agencies were deployed to the estate to check for potential infringements of Covid-19 regulations, as well as noise."
URA added that on July 31, three safe distancing enforcement officers from URA, supported by three police officers, conducted joint enforcement checks on a few residences in the estate, including Mr Mikhail's home.
URA said the inspection at Mr Mikhail's home lasted less than 10 minutes, and the officers left after ascertaining there were no other people in the house.
They then went to check on other homes in the area.
"The safe distancing enforcement officers and police officers were polite towards the female occupant and treated her with respect throughout the inspection," URA said.
During phase two (heightened alert), group sizes for social gatherings are limited to two people. There is also a limit of two distinct visitors per household each day.