'Extremely crowded' beaches raise concerns of complacency; enforcement to step up, says Masagos

PHOTO: Facebook/Masagos Zulfiki

Singapore is only in phase 2 of reopening post-circuit breaker, but it would seem as though many have grown complacent.

The past weekend saw crowds descending onto the beaches at East Coast Park and Sentosa, noted Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulfiki in a Facebook post on Tuesday (July 21).

Many of us enjoy meeting and hanging out with friends and family members, and we miss how we used to be able to do this...

Posted by Masagos Zulkifli on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Several groups of more than 10 people were observed congregating — many of whom were friends or extended family members. When approached and reminded by safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers to put on their masks, a good number said they were eating or drinking.

There were also instances where the ambassadors and officers had faced aggression when advising the large groups to disperse. 

He wrote: "I have been concerned that some complacency may be setting in, at a time when we must keep our guard up."

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As extended exposure to one another without masks on poses a risk of Covid-19 infection, authorities will be stepping up enforcement to prevent such incidents from occurring.

Since early this month, the more popular beachfronts at East Coast Park have been segmented in a bid for crowd control. Several sections have also been temporarily closed.

With reference to two recent cases — one involving 18 people who had gathered for social reasons during the circuit breaker and another involving another 10 in a social gathering in phase 2 — Masagos said: "These actions are not acceptable, and a clear violation of the safe distancing measures."

"We take such breaches seriously because they can lead to the formation of large clusters."

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He reminded members of the public to remain socially responsible by wearing a mask, keeping within a five-person group size and maintaining a safe distance from others.

To help with contact tracing efforts, members of the public should scan the SafeEntry QR codes put up along designated points of different areas.

"Our safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will continue to walk the ground to advise members of the public to adhere to these measures, and will not hesitate to issue fines on violations."

For those planning to head down to the beach, this website lets you check the current crowd situation.

rainercheung@asiaone.com

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