On 3 April, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the closure of workplaces and schools that will be commencing tomorrow (7 April) as a measure to “break the circuit” to slow down the local transmission of COVID-19. People in Singapore are not encouraged to leave their house unless necessary, and the Government will give the people a three-day period to make the necessary preparations.
Following that, an unexpected incident occurred over the weekends where IKEA was flooded with people waiting in an unending queue to get into the furniture mall.
Photos were taken and uploaded by the Facebook page, All Singapore Stuff, showing an extremely large crowd waiting for their turn to enter IKEA. Not only did many of these patrons go in groups, but most of them did not wear face masks as well.
Although social distancing, or safe distancing, had been advised by many including the Government and healthcare professionals, the patrons seemed to be ignoring the risks of having a “mass gathering” outside of the IKEA building.
Since business closures will begin tomorrow, it prompted a sea of shoppers to flock IKEA, and the people on the internet could not understand the intention behind buying furniture and eating meatballs before the nationwide “circuit breaker”.
People have commented under the Facebook post, condemning such actions that completely defeated the purpose and effort of enforcing social distancing in Singapore.
Reb Tan felt that it was stressful to see how senseless these IKEA patrons were for ignoring the Government’s social distancing measures. She prays that the coronavirus does not spread there because the frontlines are already overloaded.
Pham Thy Huyen commented that police should take appropriate actions against these people since the patrons may create another COVID-19 cluster. She urged everyone to avoid crowded places even though they want to buy food to fill their stomachs.
Seeing how it was mostly young people among the queue, Chi Ken warned that this virus will also infect young people, asking the youngsters to care for their friends and family by not potentially spreading the virus to them.
Luz Tagle commented about how the Government had been trying to keep the people safe, she asked everyone to be responsible and do their parts as an individual. Reminding how the virus could still spread without symptoms, Ms Tagle tells everyone to stay home and get rid of their cravings and urge to go shopping, adding that people can still enjoy these activities when the pandemic situation gets better.
Lawrence Liaw was taken aback by the mentality of the IKEA patrons and he questioned if the meatballs were really important during a global pandemic. Worrying that this crowd may create a new COVID-19 cluster, Mr Liaw reminded that it is difficult to know if anyone in the crowd had been infected with the coronavirus. He had also asked everyone to stay home and stay healthy.
All Singapore Stuff had also posted the same photos onto their Twitter account yesterday (5 April), and Twitter users were also enraged upon seeing how irresponsible those shoppers were.
— All Singapore Stuff (@allsgstuff) April 5, 2020
Thais Nascimento expressed her shock upon seeing the irresponsibility of the shoppers.
Tony Chew and Praveen M stated that the crowd at IKEA defeats the purpose of a “circuit breaker” to cease the spread of COVID-19. Mr Praveen was disappointed to see Singaporeans behaving so irresponsibly when the country is enforcing precautionary measures to combat the coronavirus.
Dennis Chiuten commented that businesses should be held accountable as well for allowing this situation to occur.