Photos Of Holland Village Crowds Spur On More Patrols At Nightspots

UPDATE (20 JUN, 5.30PM): One restaurant in Holland Village, the British Indian Curry Hut, will be shut down immediately, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in a Facebook post in response to the photos.

All outdoor refreshment areas on Lorong Mambong will also be removed, and fines have been issued to several people found in violation of safe distancing rules.

The dust has settled, and the first day of Phase 2 is over.

What’s left are the happy memories of finally meeting your friends again, full bellies — and inevitably, lots of photos of the crowds that formed across Singapore as Singaporeans went shopping and eating again.

One such crowd at Holland Village, purportedly on Friday (19 Jun) night, was of particular concern to netizens, such that a photo of it was shared widely over the Internet.

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Many people in photo not wearing mask, standing near one another

As the photo circulated over Facebook on Friday (19 Jun) night, it became clear that it was taken at Lorong Mambong in Holland Village, a street lined with restaurants and bars that’s a popular hangout spot.

From the photo, it can be surmised that what’s most concerning to netizens is that many of the people can be seen not wearing a mask over their faces.

We understand if you’re eating or drinking, you don’t have to wear a mask, though they also seem to be also crowded fairly close to each other, adding to the concern.

Holland Village back to its bustling self

Another video that was posted on Friday night showed that the street had indeed returned to its bustling self, with crowds standing on the street and seated at tables on the sidewalk.

The netizen who posted this video on Facebook captioned it with, “Finally!Welcome back holland village”.

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Minister Masagos says patrols will be stepped up

The photos have apparently been brought to the attention of Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who updated his Facebook post on Friday night to address the issue.

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In his update, he said that people had shared photos of crowds at Holland Village.

He said the authorities would address the situation by stepping up patrols of nightspots, and taking “enforcement actions” against breaches of safe distancing measures.

Will it be something like what happened to those who gathered at Robertson Quay? That was during the ‘Circuit Breaker’ though.

Crowds at other places too

Mr Masagos also noted that he understands there are crowds gathering at other areas besides Holland Village.

Perhaps he was referring to scenes like this one at East Coast Road, which was also sent in to him by a netizen.

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Netizen questions whether bars can open

Over on Reddit, a commenter in a discussion on the Holland Village photo questioned whether such bars were allowed to open.

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He pointed to the Ministry of Health circular on Phase 2 that clearly says that “entertainment venues such as bars, nightclubs” are not allowed to open yet, as these are “settings where large numbers of people are likely to come into close contact, often in enclosed spaces, and for prolonged periods of time”.

In Singapore, Covid-19 clusters have emerged in bars like Hero’s in Circular Road and Ce La Vi in the Marina Bay Sands.

However, he says that those on Lorong Mambong may be registered as restaurants that have a bar.

He also pointed out that according to an Urban Redevelopment Authority circular on Phase 2, the sale and consumption of alcohol in all F&B establishments won’t be allowed after 10.30pm daily.

Photo of Holland Village crowds alarming but not surprising

While the photo, if it was taken on Friday night, is alarming, it’s also not surprising that people will flock to bars on the very first night of Phase 2, especially as it’s a Friday.

And besides the few areas outside the bars and restaurants, at least the crowd didn’t take up the whole road, as seen from the video.

However, it’s still advisable for people to keep at least 1m from one another and wear their masks when not eating or drinking.

Do stay safe and be responsible while out and about, not just for your own health but that of others in the community.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.