What safe distancing? Jurong West market still crowded during circuit breaker

PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao reader, Facebook/allsgstuff

Singapore's youngsters have been copping some flak for their nonchalance towards safe distancing. But are the rest of us walking the talk?

Just one day into Singapore's circuit breaker month, crowds were spotted congregating at a Jurong West market and breaching safe distancing guidelines, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

In the interests of safe distancing, a reader of the Chinese evening daily said she had pre-ordered some of her groceries from a store owner at Jurong West 505 Market & Food Centre.

But when she turned up to collect her purchases at 8am yesterday (April 7), she was shocked to see that the market was as crowded as a typical day.

Most of the store owners wore face masks but some customers, including the elderly, did not.

"When they were queueing up, they stood very close to each other and did not follow safe distancing of one metre," the 38-year-old said in Mandarin. "Some of them didn't leave after buying their groceries and stayed to chat."

One man even sat down to eat at the food centre, she added.

A video shared on Facebook page All Singapore Stuff, reportedly taken yesterday, also showed snaking queues at the food centre.

<Reader's Contribution by Seah> Live updates from Jurong West 505 Market. Yesterday 1st day CB many many people at market. Today also still the same. Is this circuit breaker or potential new cluster?

Posted by All Singapore Stuff on Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Under the circuit breaker measures introduced by the government, non-essential businesses have to close from April 7 to May 4.

Members of the public are also advised to only leave the house for essential matters such as buying food and groceries.

While food and beverage stores are allowed to remain open, they can only accept takeaway or delivery orders. Dining in is not permitted.

Despite the tighter restrictions, Singaporeans are still out and about — over 7,000 written advisories were issued to members of the public who breached safe distancing measures yesterday.

Most of the violations took place in hawker centres and markets, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said last night.

Enforcement officers will "take action" against those who loiter and mingle in groups in public areas instead of staying at home, or refuse to adhere to safe distancing measures, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the same day.

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, which was passed yesterday, first-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed up to six months.

In order to maintain safe distancing, 15 markets, including the one at Block 505 Jurong West, have put in place crowd management measures as of April 8, the National Environment Agency (NEA) told AsiaOne.

The markets are:

  • Tiong Bahru Market
  • Bukit Timah Market
  • Tanglin Halt Market
  • Geylang Serai Market
  • Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre
  • Blk 630 Bedok Reservoir Rd
  • Blk 409 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10
  • Blk 453A Ang Mo Kio Ave 10
  • Blk 527 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10
  • Blk 628 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4
  • Blk 505 Jurong West St 52
  • Blk 13/14 Haig Road
  • Blk 4A Eunos Crescent
  • Blk 104/105 Yishun Ring Road
  • Blk 137 Tampines St 11

The measures, which include controlled entry and exit points, will extend to 25 other markets by April 10. 

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

kimberlylim@asiaone.com