188 Hawker Centre Patrons Reportedly Breach Safe Management Measures, NEA Increases Enforcement

Offences Include Groups Over 2 Pax, Drinking Alcohol After 10.30pm

As Singapore battles a surge in Covid-19 cases, infections have been found in many hawker centres across town.

Combined with the fact that many seniors frequent these places, safe management measures (SMM) are all the more important to keep the virus at bay.

To that end, National Environment Agency (NEA) officers fanned out across multiple hawker centres over the weekend to check up on diners.

They found many of them breaching the rules, taking enforcement action against 188 people.

Checks conducted from 1-3 Oct

In a Facebook post on Monday (4 Oct), the NEA said they’ll step up enforcement against SMM breaches at hawker centres.

Thus, they carried out checks from 1-3 Oct.

Source

Some of the hawker centres they visited included popular haunts like Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, recently a Covid-19 cluster.

Other places they went to included:

  1. Newton Food Centre
  2. Whampoa Food Centre
  3. Haig Road Market and Food Centre
  4. Golden Mile Food Centre
  5. Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
  6. Tekka Centre

Groups at these centres “tend to linger” and don’t follow SMMs, according to feedback cited by the NEA.

Enforcement action on 188 people

As a result of the checks, enforcement action was taken on 188 people.

For example, at Chinatown Complex, people were seen drinking alcohol after 10.30pm.

Source

In the same place, patrons were found intermingling between groups.

Source

According to the current SMMs, we’re allowed to gather in groups of only 2 people till 24 Oct at least – and no intermingling is allowed.

Over at Haig Road Market and Food Centre, though, some diners didn’t seem to get the message.

Officers found them sitting in a group of more than 2.

Source

People were also found:

  1. not wearing a mask, or having it pulled down
  2. not maintaining a distance of 1m from others

The NEA didn’t mention what type of punishment these rule-breakers received.

Close to 500 fines issued since Aug

However, in a longer statement on the NEA website, they also revealed that close to 500 fines had been issued since Aug.

This is compared with their statement on Friday (1 Oct), where they said more than 300 had been fined.

That possibly means that almost 200 fines were meted out over the weekend – which  seems to roughly correspond with the 188 people caught.

Looks like these enforcement actions are undoubtedly necessary to ensure compliance.

Seniors advised to take extra precautions

The NEA also repeated their advice to seniors to order takeaway from hawker centres instead of dining in or lingering over drinks.

Seniors Urged To Order Takeaway From Hawker Centres, Avoid Dine-In & Chats Over Drinks

They could also ask household members to dapao for them if possible.

Such extra precautions are needed as seniors are more vulnerable to the virus, and they’ve comprised most of the fatalities in recent weeks.

The agency also urged the public to cooperate with Safe Distancing Ambassadors and enforcement officers.

Don’t take freedom for granted

We’re grateful that we can still enjoy dining out in hawker centres despite the high number of community cases.

Thus, it’s advisable not to take this freedom for granted and remember to keep to SMMs when we’re at these places.

If we’re not careful and our case numbers rise with no end in sight, even the small pleasure of dining out might not be possible any more.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured images adapted from NEA.

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