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Sentosa, East Coast Park crowds show complacency 'may have set in', says Masagos who warns of increased enforcement

SINGAPORE — People may be getting complacent about keeping themselves and others safe during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said, noting that beaches at East Coast Park and Sentosa were “extremely crowded” over the weekend.

Sentosa, East Coast Park crowds show complacency 'may have set in', says Masagos who warns of increased enforcement

Large crowds were seen at East Coast Park over the weekend of July 18 and 19, 2020.

SINGAPORE — People may be getting complacent about keeping themselves and others safe during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said, noting that beaches at East Coast Park and Sentosa were “extremely crowded” over the weekend.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources said on Tuesday (July 21) in a Facebook post: “Our safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers encountered many groups comprising more than 10 people who were from extended families, or were friends congregating.

“A good number didn't wear masks even when reminded, saying that they were eating or drinking.” 

Regulations still stand that there should be no more than five people at gatherings, and people have to wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking or exercising. Photo: National Parks Board

He also said that there were cases where the ambassadors and officers faced aggression and non-compliance when advising large groups to disperse.

“If you want to gather with friends and family, do so in groups of not more than five individuals,” Mr Masagos reiterated. “(And wear) a mask at all times except when eating or drinking or exercising.”

He reminded the public that extended exposure among people who do not wear masks and in crowded places increases the risk of contracting Covid-19.

To control the crowds, the National Parks Board (NParks) has since earlier this month segmented the more popular beachfronts at East Coast Park, and also temporarily closed selected sections when these get too crowded, Mr Masagos said. 

The authorities will also be stepping up enforcement, he added.

Referring to the recent cases where 28 people at two social gatherings will be charged for offences that include flouting Covid-19 safe-distancing rules, Mr Masagos said: “These actions are not acceptable, and a clear violation of the safe distancing measures.

“We take such breaches seriously because they can potentially lead to the formation of large clusters.” 

Safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will continue to walk the ground and advise park-goers to observe regulations, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said. Photo: National Parks Board

He emphasised that the coronavirus remains a threat and that residents must continue to be socially responsible by keeping to a group size of no more than five people and maintain a safe distance of at least 1m from other groups. 

Groups at parks, beaches and other public spaces should not intermix, and to help with contact tracing efforts, members of the public should scan the SafeEntry QR codes set up at designated entry points at various venues.

“Our safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will continue to walk the ground to advise members of the public to adhere to these measures, and will not hesitate to issue fines on violations,” Mr Masagos said.

“I seek everyone’s cooperation in continuing to observe these safe distancing measures during Phase Two,” he added. “We are still in the midst of a long battle with the Covid-19 pandemic... We must be mindful, and continue being vigilant.

“This is critical, for us to protect one another.”

Those planning to go to the beach should check the visitorship levels using NParks’ safe distancing portal to avoid crowds.

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