Singapore cancels Chinese New Year light-up, limit access in Chinatown

File photo of a crowded market in Singapore’s Chinatown.
File photo of a crowded market in Singapore’s Chinatown.

More restrictions are being rolled out to keep the crowds at bay during Chinese New Year’s celebrations next week.

The authorities today canceled this weekend’s pre-fest light-up in Chinatown while also announcing they will control traffic flow into the area located between South Bridge Road, New Bridge Road, and Eu Tong Sen Street. Compliance officers will be deployed to monitor the public for violation health measures, which currently limit gatherings to groups of eight. Face masks and social distancing are still required. 

“Increased social interactions during festive periods heightens the risk of Covid-19 transmission. It is critical that members of the public and premise operators stay vigilant,” the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment said in a statement today. The announcement came as large crowds were spotted Tuesday in Chinatown, the epicenter of celebrations. In a normal year, the streets would be packed for two weeks of celebrations after the festival begins Feb. 12.

The seasonal lights remain dark Thursday for Chinese New Year’s eve, when they are typically illuminated.

Escalators at the Chinatown train station exit on Pagoda Street will be intermittently closed subject to crowding. Barricades have been set up outside wet markets to control the crowds. 

The COVID-19 taskforce announced new safety measures last month that limited house guests to just eight a day and visitations of only two houses daily. For Prosperity Tosses, participants are required to wear masks and avoid shouting

Singapore has reported 59,624 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths since the outbreak began, though the outbreak is mostly contained, with just a handful of daily new cases found daily in recent weeks.

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