The term ‘social distancing’ has been part of our common parlance for some time now, and it’s a serious-enough concept that you can get thrown in jail if you refuse to maintain some space between yourself and others.
To potentially prevent folks from getting infected by the coronavirus or getting sentenced to prison, surfaces across the country have been marked out with duct tape. Floors, chairs, benches, tables, and even urinals are sporting bright strips of the sticky product — reminders that we are living in a global pandemic.
Safe-distancing markers have essentially become an art form of its own, really, and now we’re all hardwired to position ourselves away from anything that’s been duct-taped. The surreal decor of our new reality is the focus of a new Instagram page @tape_measures, an account dedicated entirely to being a visual record of safe-distancing markers found across Singapore.
And it does get uncanny the more you look at the posts. Chairs and tables get taped up, but there’s no one sitting on them anyway.
Another newly-formed Instagram page called @antisocialsocialdistancingclub does the same thing. Contrary to its name — a parody of streetwear brand Anti Social Social Club — the page assures that it’s just “applauding the efforts in these strange times on our sunny island”.
Flattening the curve
As unusual as our duct-tape-driven measures may be, social distancing and self-quarantine play crucial roles in lowering the incidences of infection — something that’s now widely known as “flattening the curve”.
Staying put at home (or at least maintaining some distance from one another) reduces the chances of infection, giving medical workers and the healthcare system a chance to confidently handle the glut of Covid-19 cases without dealing with an onslaught of new ones.
It also helps to know that anyone who intentionally sits down less than 1m away from another person in a public place, on a seat marked as not to be occupied, or who stand in a queue less than 1m away from another person, will be guilty of an offence. Related diners (like families and couples) can still be seated together, but tables have to be spaced out nonetheless.
Those found guilty of flouting the rules can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or face both penalties upon conviction under updates to the Infectious Diseases Act made by the Ministry of Health.