Orchard Road malls and Changi Airport 'ghost towns' amid stricter social distancing measures

PHOTO: AsiaOne reader

[UPDATED, March 27]

Here's a look at the situation at the malls surrounding Somerset MRT station on Friday (March 27), where barricades have been put in place at entrances to 313@Somerset, Orchard Central and Orchard Gateway. 

Enhanced safe distancing measures took effect from 11.59pm on Thursday (March 26), and malls and standalone stores here have implemented restrictions to manage the number of people that are in the area.

PHOTO: AsiaOne reader

 

AsiaOne readerPHOTO: AsiaOne readerPHOTO: AsiaOne reader

From one city to the next, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on people's lives across the globe, as well as impacted many of their livelihoods.

In Singapore, there is no doubt that retail companies, small businesses and F&B operations are suffering due to the latest protocols to stem the coronavirus spread.

Even before the call for stricter social distancing measures, there were already reports of businesses struggling to stay afloat.      

And with the latest implementation for bars, cinemas and other entertainment outlets to close from Thursday (March 26), will local malls be ghost towns soon?

Already, netizens have reported a drastic drop in foot traffic in once-crowded malls here.

Facebook user Jayden Tan shared photos of the situation at several malls along Orchard Road to the Complaint Singapore page, and if you've ever watched the musical Les Miserables, the verse "empty chairs at empty tables" ("where my friends will meet no more") springs to mind. 

Screengrab: Facebook/Complaint Singapore

Food courts lay deserted, as were pedestrian walkways, and even a baby fair at the atrium of Takashimaya barely contained a handful of shoppers. The photos were said to be taken between 6pm to 7pm on Tuesday (March 24).

Facebook/Jayden TanFacebook/Jayden TanFacebook/Jayden TanFacebook/Jayden Tan

It's a similar story at 313@Somerset and Orchard Central, where shoppers were sparse. An AsiaOne reader shared photos of the situation today (March 25) at about 5pm, which is said to be "unusual" even for a weekday.

313@Somerset on a Wednesday at about 5pm. PHOTO: AsiaOne reader313@Somerset on a Wednesday at about 5pm. PHOTO: AsiaOne reader

Over at Changi Airport T4, videos of the non-existent crowd at the airport were posted on Tuesday (March 24) by an understandably triggered food court stallholder, who stated that her stall is barely managing to pull in $100 a day. 

In photos and videos, she showed restaurants in the area devoid of customers in the near-empty terminal, prompting another user to comment, "Looks like you are entering to a ghost house. [sic] So scary."

Even without formal lockdown measures imposed in other parts of the world such as Malaysia — where tourist attractions have been left eerily deserted — Singaporeans appear to be heeding the call to stay away from crowded places. 

At least there is still a queue, however, at Shake Shack. According to local radio DJ Mike Kasem, who was at Jewel Changi Airport on Wednesday (March 25), he echoed the "ghost town" sentiment as he lined up for burgers at the famed chain, noting that the crowd was "thin" compared to its pre-coronavirus days.

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candicecai@asiaone.com