Netizens Question Lack Of Safe Distancing Among NYE Crowds Along River
UPDATE (2 Jan, 3.38pm): Enforcement agencies are looking into the New Year’s Eve gathering at Clarke Quay as it’s a potential superspreading event, said the Multi-Ministry Task Force handling Covid-19.
In a statement on Sunday (2 Jan) that was reported by The Straits Times, they reminded Singaporeans that civic responsibility was needed as we’re still amid a pandemic.
New Year’s Eve (NYE) in Singapore hasn’t been the same for 2 consecutive years, especially with the fireworks display gone from Marina Bay due to Covid-19 concerns.
Or is it? Turns out that for people who were in Clarke Quay that night, the festive spirit still remained more or less intact.
According to various social posts, crowds still came out in force for an impromptu countdown at the popular nightspot area.
Alas, many of the people seen had their masks pulled down or totally off.
Crowd counting down to New Year
According to their post on Reddit, the OP “Azenity” found a video on Instagram showing a large crowd appearing to count down to the New Year.
It also features a man spraying what appears to be champagne at the crowd. His mask is pulled down under his chin.
Another man filming him from the ground appears not to have a mask on at all.
The post got 1,500 upvotes, and 1 of the 357 responses to the video clearly had the pandemic in mind, saying,
Crowds were outside Riverside Point
From the clearly identifiable sign and design of the building, the location appears to be an area along the Singapore River bank.
Specifically, it’s outside Riverside Point mall, next to the Jumbo Seafood restaurant.
However, as it’s a public place, the revellers could’ve come from anywhere.
Festive atmosphere at the river
Another video posted on TikTok captured the festive atmosphere perfectly.
Many among the crowd lifted their hands to the sky to count down to the New Year.
“Champagne man” could also be seen spraying the crowd at the stroke of midnight. He appeared to be standing precariously on the bridge railing.
There was even a crowd lining Read Bridge, taking in the scene.
Spider-man was there too
Another TikTok user appeared to recognise the danger, saying she was starting 2022 with a “covid party”.
However, that didn’t stop her from taking a photo with Spider-man, who was also spending NYE at Clarke Quay.
Crowd was like a mosh pit
TikTok user rotiprata0 said he’d lost his friend at Clarke Quay and ended up walking into a “mosh pit” while looking for him.
A mosh pit is a standing crowd at a concert. Moshers usually dance, sing and bump into each other, and concerts in Singapore tended not to have one even before Covid-19.
Singing with wild abandon
Indeed, not only were people shouting with their masks down, some were also singing with wild abandon.
A video posted on Instagram by @sgfollowsall showed an enthusiastic group singing something that sounded like “Spongebob Squarepants”.
Of course, in order to chant properly, they had to pull down their masks.
An individual also stood on a ledge, pretending to “conduct” the passionate “choir”.
Netizens have opinions
Some might be grateful that people still can have fun like pre-Covid times, and are of the opinion that it’s okay for people to let their hair down during festive occasions.
However, what Singaporeans might be critical of is why it appears that large crowds with no safe distancing and few masks can still gather without enforcement, when the removal of fireworks from town was meant to prevent this exact scenario.
Also, some questioned how some can get away with not following safe management measures, while others are punished. One netizen cited the example of the hawker who was fined for pulling his mask down to taste the sauce.
Another noted the apparent inconsistency of strict rules for places like restaurants but not for crowds in public and public transport – perhaps it’s because people in F&B outlets take off their masks?
Maybe what we crave is for the troublesome SafeEntry to be over – and is it still relevant in such situations anyway?
Behave responsibly on our own accord
In a way, we’re glad that the NYE crowds may signify a closer return to pre-Covid times, neither do we begrudge people from a bit of fun after another tough year.
However, safe distancing rules still exist for a reason, and if the authorities thought that the Covid-19 threat is over, they would’ve relaxed the rules by now.
So perhaps what Singaporeans want is just some consistency, as it’s admittedly jarring to see people getting away with flouting rules when others are abiding strictly by them.
Ultimately, instead of waiting to see what the rules say, we should also behave responsibly on our own accord not just for ourselves, but our loved ones too.
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