Smaller-scale NDP 2021 to be held at Marina Bay floating platform with fully vaccinated participants, spectators: Ng Eng Hen
SINGAPORE — After being stymied by Covid-19 last year, the National Day Parade (NDP) will return to a centralised location on Aug 9, albeit on a smaller scale compared with pre-pandemic years.
SINGAPORE — After being stymied by Covid-19 last year, the National Day Parade (NDP) will return to a centralised location on Aug 9 — albeit on a smaller scale compared with pre-pandemic years.
There will be fewer spectators and participants than usual at Singapore’s 56th birthday bash, which will be held at the The Float@Marina Bay.
The number of spectators will be finalised later, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Monday (June 28) in an interview to mark Singapore Armed Forces Day, which falls on Thursday.
All parade participants and spectators must also be fully vaccinated.
Before Covid-19 hit, parades at the floating platform typically involved 25,000 spectators and 14,000 participants, volunteers and crew.
Dr Ng said that all NDP 2021 participants have been inoculated against the coronavirus and have to undergo Covid-19 antigen rapid tests before every rehearsal.
All spectators older than 12 must also have completed their two-dose vaccination regimen and be tested for the virus before entering the parade grounds.
This year’s parade will comprise one preview and the main show.
With two-thirds of Singapore’s population expected to be fully vaccinated by Aug 9, Dr Ng said that it would be safe to stage a physical parade this year with precautions in place.
“We think that it can be held safely and that it is an appropriate occasion to shift to living with the disease, but managing it so that you can get back to a new normal.
“The new normal in this instance is not the usual 25,000 (spectators)," Dr Ng said, adding that there will be fewer spectators but the same elements for the parade and show as well as some heartland activities.
Last year’s NDP was the first conducted without a large audience, in keeping with safe-distancing precautions to combat Covid-19.
Instead, a morning parade segment at the Padang and an evening performance at The Star Performing Arts Centre in Buona Vista were broadcast live on television and internet platforms.
About 300 performers took part in both segments.
Parade segments such as the state-flag fly-past and the mobile column — a drive-past of military equipment — also took place across various locations around the island, instead of at a centralised stage.
While there will be activities in the heartlands to mark National Day, Dr Ng urged those who have not received the Covid-19 vaccine to enjoy the festivities from their homes.
The minister said that participants have begun rehearsing for the parade in smaller groups, though this year’s preparations have been less than in past years on account of the disruption caused by Covid-19.
Calling on Singaporeans to support the parade, Dr Ng said: “We hope that Singaporeans will encourage it, we hope that Singaporeans will understand if the show is not as well-prepared as previous years, pre-Covid-19.
“We have had less time to prepare, but NDP is as much about each Singaporean using the occasion to affirm together what we value about Singapore.”
The NDP organising committee will release more details of this year’s parade in the coming days.