Elderly people flouting safe distancing rules

Groups of elderly men gather at public areas between Blocks 85 and 86 in Redhill Close.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

They drink, smoke and gamble openly, blatantly ignoring the circuit breaker measures that require them to stay home because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

And the groups of elderly men do it frequently, congregating at public areas between Blocks 85 and 86, according to residents of Redhill estate.

They even gather before 8am and after 5pm, when safe distancing enforcement officers may not be patrolling the area, a resident told Shin Min Daily News.

The men, who sometimes number up to 12, also do not bother to wear masks.

"People across the country have sacrificed because of Covid-19. But these people ignore the safety of others," one resident told the evening daily.

Meanwhile, at Teban Market and Food Centre, an elderly woman continued to eat her kway chap despite being warned by safe distancing ambassadors.

A video of the woman circulated on social media, showing her ignoring the seals on the table and shouting at the ambassadors as they explained to her why she had to leave.

She is heard saying it was outrageous dining-in at all food outlets was prohibited and added she did not mind paying the fines.

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"I have back pains and I walk very slowly. I took a long time to come here. I'm not afraid of the fine," she said in a mix of Mandarin and Hokkien.

A man talking to the woman can be heard advising her to just "dabao" her food because it was not worth the $300 fine. He said "$300 can eat a lot of food", and even offered to pack her food, but the woman refused.

Eventually, the police had to be called in and the woman was fined $300.

Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre psychiatrist Brian Yeo told Shin Min the elderly could find it more challenging to remain at home because it may be difficult for some to adapt to sudden changes. He said seniors may also be less adept than younger people in connecting with others through virtual means.

"They could feel it is still important to go out and meet their friends."

Dr Yeo said some elderly people may also be apathetic towards the threat of the virus on their lives.

He added that those who live with elders should accompany them more to help them adjust to life at home.

ALSO READ: 'It's my problem if I die': Auntie refuses to wear mask at People's Park Centre

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This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.