Where you can’t go, what you can’t do under Singapore’s latest COVID-19 measures

Masked Singaporeans visit the Tiong Bahru market on April 12, 2020. Photo: Coconuts
Masked Singaporeans visit the Tiong Bahru market on April 12, 2020. Photo: Coconuts

Singapore introduced yet another slew of measures over the long weekend to rein in escalating COVID-19 transmissions as it struggles to keep citizens at home.

Netizens have noted that it is becoming difficult to keep track of the new rules. If you’re one of them, fret not, here’s everything new that you need to know.

Penalty: S$300 on first offense

Those who flout the rules by dining in at eateries or gathering socially will be fined S$300 (US$210) on the first offense, Environment and Water Minister Masagos Zulkifli announced the penalty Saturday, two days after saying first-time offenders would be given a stern warning.

“Today our Enforcement Officers reported that there are still too many people not taking the circuit breaker measures seriously. We issued more than 3,000 stern warnings today, and more fines! Stiffer penalties are clearly needed,” Masagos wrote on Facebook. “From tomorrow, we will no longer issue written warnings.”

Those caught flouting the rules again would receive higher fines or be charged in court. 

Beach shutdown

All beaches, nature reserves and some parklands have been closed to the public, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced Saturday. 

“In theory, we could keep most places open, so long as safe distancing measures are strictly adhered to. But increasingly we see that this is hard to achieve. So tougher measures are necessary. Yesterday, we closed off selected areas in our parks and nature reserves. Today we will be closing all beaches in Singapore.”

According to NParks’ Safe Distance @ Parks crowd monitoring map, the Jurong Lake Garden’s Butterfly Field and the West Coast Park’s Marsh Garden are some of the areas within parks that have been closed. People can still go to sections open for exercises. 

Mask-up on public transport, at markets

It is now compulsory to wear masks when taking buses or trains and visiting markets. 

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said Saturday the new measure would better protect commuters on public transport, where keeping people apart would be nearly impossible after the partial lockdown ends. 

“This will minimise transmission in public transport during post-[lockdown] period when safe distancing is compromised. To prepare for this, we will get commuters to wear masks, NOW, when using public transport,” Khaw wrote on Facebook.

The National Environment Agency said Friday that donning masks at markets would help safeguard the health of shoppers “given the generally crowded and closed-in environment in markets.”

Those who do not wear masks would be refused entry, according to the agency. 

No more grannie day care

Parents not working in essential sectors such as healthcare can no longer leave their children with grandparents, in a bid to protect the health of the elderly who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. 

They can continue to help the elderly purchase food and other important items but must keep interaction at a minimum. 

“Seniors are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection. Hence seniors are strongly urged to stay home and minimize interactions with those outside their household. Individuals can visit the elderly to assist them with their daily needs such as bringing them groceries, food and other essential supplies, but interaction time should be kept to a minimum.”

Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,532 in Singapore after 233 new cases were reported last night. New clusters include those centering the Immigration and Checkpoints building in Lavender and a number of McDonald’s outlets. 

Related:

Those who breach Singapore’s new rules to receive warnings, then fines
Singapore locks down 4th migrant worker dorm as new COVID-19 cases hit record high

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