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Enterprise Singapore refutes online rumour of safe-distancing ambassador issuing fines

SINGAPORE — Government agency Enterprise Singapore has debunked a rumour — circulating on social media and via phone text messages — claiming that its safe-distancing ambassador has fined an individual for sitting on a not-for-use seat.

Enterprise Singapore advises the public to avoid spreading unverified information, warning that businesses found to have violated safe-distancing regulations under the Infectious Diseases Act may be charged.

Enterprise Singapore advises the public to avoid spreading unverified information, warning that businesses found to have violated safe-distancing regulations under the Infectious Diseases Act may be charged.

SINGAPORE — Government agency Enterprise Singapore has debunked a rumour — circulating on social media and via phone text messages — claiming that its safe-distancing ambassador has fined an individual for sitting on a not-for-use seat. 

“Safe-distancing ambassadors are deployed by various government agencies to guide and ensure that businesses implement and comply with the safe-distancing measures. They do not impose fines,” the agency, which looks after enterprise development, said in a Facebook post on Friday (March 27).

“We advise members of the public to avoid spreading unverified information,” it added, while warning that businesses found to have violated safe-distancing regulations under the Infectious Diseases Act may be charged.

ESG's clarification came after a message making its rounds online and on WhatsApp claimed that a customer at the Ya Kun Family Cafe at Compass One mall in Sengkang was fined S$300 for sitting on a space marked with a cross, meaning it was not to be occupied as part of safe-distancing measures.

The message, which came with a photo of a man holding a tag that read “Safe Distancing Ambassador, Enterprise Singapore”, urged recipients to spread the word to warn their friends.

Under new regulations that came into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday (March 26) to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore, individuals, event organisers and owners of premises who break safe-distancing rules could face jail terms of up to six months or fines of up to S$10,000, or both.

The regulations, which come under the Infectious Diseases Act, apply to owners of premises and event organisers who must ensure that non-fixed seating is at least 1m away from any other seat at all times. If seats are fixed to the floor, alternate seats need to be demarcated as ones that should not be occupied. 

Individuals who intentionally sit on demarcated seats or stand in a queue less than 1m away from another individual could also face the same penalties.  

In a joint statement on Saturday, several government agencies said they have collectively stepped up efforts to ensure that businesses implement and comply with these safe distancing measures. 

"We have started to deploy personnel on the ground, to ensure food and beverage, retail and tourism establishments comply with measures," said the statement by ESG, the Housing and Development Board, the National Environment Agency, the Singapore Food Agency, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

"If establishments are found to be non-compliant, they will be guided on finding suitable solutions. There will be follow up checks to ensure businesses implement the measures," the statement said, adding that those that fail to comply after the follow-up checks may be prosecuted.

The agencies said that where appropriate, the authorities will also advise patrons on safe distancing requirements and the importance of practising good personal hygiene. 

"They are also encouraged to take-out or use food delivery, if there is no more unmarked seats at the centre for dine-in," said the agencies. 

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Covid-19 coronavirus social distancing Enterprise Singapore

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