Residents who live in condominiums are not allowed to exercise or walk their dog within the common areas to prevent further spread of COVID-19, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on Tuesday (28 April).
Many strata-titled residential developments, including private condominiums, have common areas within their gated compound with facilities such as gardens, playgrounds, pools as well as other open spaces and paths.
However, BCA noted that these areas can become crowded, posing problems in terms of enforcing safe distancing.
Therefore, all the sports or recreational facilities within strata-titled developments are required to be closed during the circuit breaker period and residents are not permitted to exercise in the common areas.
This is said to be in compliance with the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 8 April.
BCA said it hopes “everyone understands the need” for the measures and will “do their part to comply with the requirements, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19”.
While pet owners are not allowed to use the grounds in strata-titled residential developments, they can however, walk their pets out of the condominium compound to public areas.
“These public areas could be any public path, a green or an open space that is managed or maintained for the Government or a public body, and is accessible to the general public without payment of any fee,” the agency said.
Following the reports, netizens — particularly dog owners — voiced their displeasure and confusion on the new ruling as seen on CNA’s Facebook post.
Some netizens wondered if the authorities understand the difficulties of dog owners.
One said that “whoever came up with this, clearly have no pets” and that “the authority did not think when they made this ruling”.
Some commenters noted their confusion as to how they are going to follow the rule since they have trained their dogs “to do their business outdoor”.
They find it impossible to reach the side gate or main gate as it is quite a far walk in some condos.
One commenter said that “by the time the dog reached the gate, most of them should have finished their business”.
Some were puzzled as to how they could walk their dogs outside the condominium without walking through the common area. They even quipped about having to “teleport” their dogs outside the condominium grounds.
Several commenters voiced their concerns about bringing the “virus home”, as many people are reportedly jogging in the park without wearing face masks.
Another commenter likened the number of people at the park to “some carnival going on” with entire families strolling and cycling right outside the condo.
One commenter branded the BCA’s new rules as “senseless”, with rules changing daily.
Some commenters said that they have written feedback to BCA and even shared them in the comment section.
One wrote that the new rule is “pushing me to walk in a very much higher risk park”.
Another commenter, purportedly a legal practictioner, even offered those who are fined or prosecuted as a result BCA’s new rules “pro-bono legal representation to contest any allegation that this regulation was breached”.