Starting today (27 March), anyone in Singapore who do not follow the safe distancing rules like purposely sitting less than one metre from another person in a public area or sits on a fixed seat marked as not to be used, will be found guilty under the new regulations. This applies to those who stand in a queue less than one metre away as well.
Based on updates to the Infectious Diseases Act made by the Ministry of Health and published in the Government Gazette on Thursday (26 March) night, those who found guilty of committing these offences could be fined up to S$10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.
These latest regulations are imposed to make it legal for authorities to take action against those who do not comply with the safe distancing measures that were announced by the multi-ministry task force on Tuesday (24 March) in a bid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.
The measures limit individuals who gather outside of work and school to 10 persons or fewer, and make sure to maintain a distance of minimum one metre between each person in non-transient places like coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping malls.
Besides this, all sporting events, exhibitions, trade fairs, as well as public entertainment at cinemas, theatres, amusement, or games centres, and other places, are banned from Friday (27 March) until 30 April, under the Infectious Disease (Measure to Prevent Spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020.
If that’s not all, anyone below the age of 18 are not allowed to attend any enrichment or tuition centre or sporting facilities during this period. There’s also a ban on provision of goods, entertainment and services at bars, karaoke lounges, and nightclubs.
Additionally, for organisers of events who are permitted, they must ensure that not more than 10 people are present or taking part, unless it is held in the course of business at workplace or an educational institute.
For those organisers of events at public areas where food or drinks are sold, they must make sure that customers are one metre apart from each other, and the food and drinks are served in single portions so that it can minimise interaction between people.
They must also provide natural ventilation at the premises during the event, take all attendees’ body temperature, and get their contact details to help with contact tracing measures. In addition, they must also send away those people with fever or other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, breathlessness, or runny nose.
Owners or tenants of places like eateries and malls have to make sure that seats that are not permanently fixed are at least one metre apart at all times. As for seats that are fixed to the floor, alternate seats must be labelled as seats that can’t be occupied.
They have to also ensure that customers stand one metre away from each other when queuing to make payment or to use fitting rooms or toilets.
Owners or those who occupy shopping malls, worship places, funeral venues, and specific places of attraction can be subjected to the penalty if they fail to comply with the safe distancing measures.
These places include museums, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, Gardens By the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Universal Studios Singapore, Wild Wild Wet, various Sentosa attractions, and the Arts House and Esplanade.
However, the new regulations are not applied to proceedings of Parliament or the courts.
Also published in the Government Gazette is that any patient who has been certified as having acute respiratory symptoms by a doctor and given a five-day medical certificate (MC) will have to stay home for the duration of the MC or risk being fined or sent to jail.
The only reason these individuals would be allowed to venture out is to seek medical help.