Proposed Safe Distancing Bill Will Ban Social Gatherings Of All Sizes

As the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore escalates, the government has introduced a series of social distancing measures to minimise physical contact between people.

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On Tuesday (7 Apr), the government tabled and debated a new bill to clamp down further on social gatherings during the outbreak.

If the bill is passed, social gatherings, regardless of size, will not be allowed in both public and private spaces, reports TODAY Online.

This means heading to your mahjong kaki‘s for a game or 2 isn’t exactly ‘safe’ too.

Image result for singaporeans playing mahjongFor illustration purposes only
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Bill to ban social gatherings comes with severe punishments

According to Yahoo News Singapore, the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill is applicable even for get-togethers between relatives or friends, as long as they do not stay together.

While previous social distancing measures state that gatherings should not exceed 10 people, the new set of laws will apply regardless of size.

Most importantly, the bill will provide officers with authority to enforce measures even in private spaces.

So if you’re thinking of playing mahjong with your friends during this 1-month long ‘circuit breaker’, think twice.

That said, Health Minister Gan says that enforcement officers will take into account the “facts of the case carefully” and will listen to any “reasonable explanations”.

Those caught flouting the laws for the first time will face a maximum fine of $10,000, 6 months jail, or both.

Government can ‘take over’ land, property, or services to help fight Covid-19

The same bill, if passed, will also allow the government to invoke the Requisition of Resources Act (RORA) to help with the Covid-19 outbreak.

In short, the Act lets the government ‘take over’ land, property, or services in order to boost Singapore’s healthcare capacity.

Minister Gan also said that while many private companies have, on their own accord, helped out with existing Covid-19 measures, Singapore cannot solely rely on the “common negotiation or the goodwill of these resource owners”.

Postpone mahjong or gatherings until Covid-19 outbreak is over

This proposed bill, if passed, is once again a step-up on the already stringent social distancing measures.

As tempting as it might be, perhaps it might be wiser to resist the urge of hanging out with your friends and other loved ones until the ‘storm’ is clear.

The Covid-19 outbreak has brought about a huge deal of disruptions and inconvenience. But if we are uncooperative, the situation might very well be extended, which will only prolong our suffering.

Let’s get this done right now, so our lives can return to normal later on.

Featured image adapted from National Heritage Board