Those who breach Singapore’s new rules to receive warnings, then fines

Two police officers confront an elderly man at a hawker center in a photo dated April 9, 2020. Photo: Masagos Zulkifli/Facebook
Two police officers confront an elderly man at a hawker center in a photo dated April 9, 2020. Photo: Masagos Zulkifli/Facebook

Those who breach partial lockdown rules in Singapore will now receive a police warning on the first offense and pay a S$300 (S$210) fine on the second, according to Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli today. 

After a warning and fine, those caught dining in restaurants, gathering socially or ignoring safe-distancing markers a third time will be prosecuted, the minister said of penalties introduced in response to widespread flouting of the new rules.

“We need everyone’s cooperation for these circuit breaker measures to be effective. There are still many people who are not taking the COVID-19 situation seriously,” said the minister, who also serves on a COVID-19 response taskforce “Some are even uncooperative, insisting on dining in at eating places, not maintaining a safe distance when queuing in markets, and gathering in parks to eat or exercise together.” 

Those rules along with the closure of nonessential businesses and homeschooling for all students were put in place from Tuesday as part of a broader, partial lockdown in effect until May 4, dubbed the “circuit-breaker” period.

Zulkifli added that enforcement would begin immediately. 

“From today, our Enforcement Officers will immediately take down the particulars of anyone found to be in breach of elevated safe distancing measures,” he said.

Among those who have been caught violating the rules was one woman who reportedly dined at a hawker center in Ang Mo Kio yesterday. 

Singapore last Thursday announced the closure of nonessential businesses, which includes museums, theme parks, and gambling outlets. All students have been forced to study from home, nobody is allowed to dine-in at eateries or participate in social gatherings of any size either in public or private. Those who have to go out for errands must follow safe-distancing measures.

The rules were enacted after Parliament passed an emergency measures bill earlier this week. Those found guilty of violating the “control order” regulations face six months’ jail and S$10,000 fines. The law is set to expire after a period not exceeding six months. 

The heightened restrictions came as Singapore reports worrying spikes in locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, the bulk of which have taken place in migrant worker housing. A fourth migrant worker dormitory was locked down today due to an outbreak. 

Confirmed cases rose to 1,623 as of today.

 

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CITY: SINGAPORECATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: CRIME, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTHTAGS:

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