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Covid-19: Crowded parks, beaches to be closed when they near capacity limits, says MOH

SINGAPORE — The authorities will temporarily shut access to popular public spaces such as parks and beaches as they near their capacity limits, after crowds were reported at some hot spots of late.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that crowds had likely increased last weekend at beaches and parks because it was the start of the week-long school holiday.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that crowds had likely increased last weekend at beaches and parks because it was the start of the week-long school holiday.

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  • People may be denied entry to places like East Coast Park if crowds build
  • Authorities are also keeping a close watch on popular night spots
  • Enforcement will be tightened if crowds, breaches persist

 

SINGAPORE — The authorities will temporarily shut access to popular public spaces such as parks and beaches as they near their capacity limits, after crowds were reported at some hot spots of late.

In a statement on Friday (July 24), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that some car parks serving these hot spots may also be closed.

The ministry’s announcement comes three days after Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, warned that people might be becoming complacent about keeping themselves and others safe during the pandemic.

He pointed to how beaches at East Coast Park and the resort island of Sentosa were “extremely crowded” last weekend.

Mr Masagos said that enforcement officers encountered many groups of more than 10 people and a “good number” of them were not wearing masks even after being reminded to do so.

Under safe distancing regulations, people may gather only in groups of up to five.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, at a press conference on Friday by the multi-ministry task force handling Singapore’s response to Covid-19, said that crowds had likely increased last weekend at the start of the week-long school holiday. 

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force, said that in East Coast Park, for example, a stretch from the East Coast Lagoon Food Village to Marine Cove tends to be more crowded than other areas. There are about three beaches within the stretch.

Controls will be in place along this stretch to limit the number of people who may access the beaches. Officers will stop people from entering when the crowds get close to capacity limits and move people along, he said.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, the other co-chair of the task force, said that the measures may inconvenience Singaporeans and called for their co-operation. “Please bear with us.”

MOH said that in the present second phase of Singapore’s reopening after a prolonged stay-home period to limit the spread of Covid-19, there has been crowding and poor adherence to safe distancing at some hot spots, including popular nightspots, beaches, some malls and parks as well as public housing estates.

Enforcement will be stepped up and government agencies will take firm action against breaches by individuals and businesses, especially at hot spots where the risk of transmission is higher.

Over the last weekend, the National Parks Board issued more than 100 fines to people who infringed safe distancing rules at gardens, parks and nature reserves.

In the past week, the Urban Redevelopment Authority also imposed suspension notices and fines on two food-and-beverage establishments, Try Again and Los Amigos along Circular Road, a popular nightspot, for continued violations despite earlier warnings.

There were groups of more than five people gathering there, Mr Wong said, adding that the authorities are keeping an eye on other nightspots, such as Holland Village,  Dempsey Hill and Robertson Quay.

There are 49,375 Covid-19 cases in Singapore with 277 new cases reported on Friday.

MOH said that it will continue to monitor the situation and tighten enforcement measures should crowds persist and continue to flout safe distancing rules at hot spots.

“Everyone must behave responsibly, and have a good understanding of the risks of infection in crowded and close spaces, so that we can avoid a resurgence of cases, as has been observed in many other countries with the resumption of more activities,” the ministry said.

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