Singapore steps up with tighter measures in our fight against COVID-19. As of 7 April, all social gatherings of any size in both private and public spaces have been banned under a new Bill passed in Parliament.
This includes private parties or gatherings with families or friends not living together, at home or in public spaces such as HDB void decks.
According to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), enforcement officers from various agencies (including Singapore Police Force, National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, and Land Transport Authority) will be deployed in HDB estates to ensure that everyone is complying to the safe distancing measures during the “circuit breaker” period. While they conduct compliance inspections, stern action will be taken against anyone in breach of safe distancing measures or unwilling to comply to the measures.
First time offenders may face a penalty fine of up to S$10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both. For second or subsequent offences, the penalty is a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
These tighter measures were unveiled on top of the existing ones in place to prohibit any loitering and gatherings in public places as well as consumption of food and drinks in eating places or public areas.
Under this (Temporary Measures) Bill, Health Minister can prohibit events and gatherings or impose conditions on how they are conducted and on the participation in such activities.
In response to queries, the Health Ministry also clarified: “Individuals are still allowed to visit family members for assistance with their daily needs, such as caring for elderly parents or for informal childcare arrangements.”
In a Facebook post, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, echoed the importance of complying to the measures in place.
“Each and every one of us plays a critical role in containing the spread of COVID-19. By complying with the elevated safe distancing measures, we can help to save lives and protect our families, loved ones and community. This is as simple as staying at home.”
While the Bill will be valid for six months, the circuit breaker measures will be imposed until May 4. The situation will be reviewed later on to decide whether there is a need to extend the ‘circuit breaker’ period and whether some of the measures need to be adjusted.
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