Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) announced on Friday (25 June) that all of its customers residing in Bukit Merah View area will be temporarily denied entry into the centre from Monday (28 June) onwards, in light of an “active cluster” of COVID-19 cases in the area.
The centre said in a post on its website on Friday that customers with existing booking of lessons at BBDC to cancel their lessons “immediately”, and no refunds for their lessons would be given if they are denied entry to the centre.
“The affected customers will receive an SMS from us. Customers with existing lessons, please cancel your lesson immediately,” it said.
It added, “Affected customers who are having Theory Test or Practical Test, please DO NOT CANCEL your test. We will be contacting you on this matter.”
BBDC general manager Ang Koh Kwee told The Straits Times (ST) that the centre made this decision as it has “a group of customers from (Bukit Merah View)”.
“We have big groups of customers and staff on our premises, and lessons are conducted one-to-one, so we didn’t want to take the risk of infection and advised them to temporarily cancel their lessons instead,” he said.
Mr Ang also noted that individuals who cancel their lessons in advance will be refunded their lesson fees.
He went on to say that the centre is not able to confirm when it will resume lessons for affected customers, but will look into its decision in a week’s time, depending on the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily.
University student Nat Tan told ST that she tried to book a theory test for 8 July, but received an SMS asking her to cancel the class as she is “residing in an active COVID-19 cluster”.
“I think it’s really unfair that they’re asking all those who live near or within the Bukit Merah cluster to cancel classes,” said the 21-year old.
She added, “I’m fully vaccinated, and I’ve not been to any of the affected places or asked to get tested, so why I being banned from entering the school?”
Commenting on this, Workers’ Party politician and former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong said that this move is “pure nonsense”, and that BBDC cannot make such a “call on its own”.
“If true, it is pure nonsense. So BMV residents have to banned from schools, markets, shopping centre, everywhere? Unless the health authorities order a total lockdown and sealing off of a place, I do not think the driving centre can make such a call on its own,” said Mr Yee in a Facebook post on Monday.
Netizens slam BBDC for its decision
Over on social media, online users voiced their unhappiness towards the driving centre’s decision to temporarily ban customers from Bukit Merah area. Penning their thoughts in the Facebook page of ST, they question if BBDC is even allowed to this, adding that such decision should not be made without consulting MOH and the Authority.
Others expressed that this is a form of discrimination, and people should boycott the driving school to teach them a lesson.
Customers who are fully vaccinated can now enter BBDC
In an update on its website, the driving centre said on Monday said that starting from Tuesday (29 June), its customers from Bukit Merah View area will be allowed to continue their lesson if they are fully vaccinated.
“We have noticed that the Bukit Merah Cluster has stabilised over the past 2 days. In line with our progressive Safe Management Measures, with effect from Tuesday, 29 June 2021, customers from the vicinity of Bukit Merah View will be able to continue with their lesson if they are fully vaccinated.
“Before SafeEntry into our premises, customers/visitors are required to produce proof of vaccination to our Safe Management Officer (SMO),” it said.
Responding to its Friday’s statement, BBDC clarified that it treats all customers equally regardless of where they reside, adding that the measures were temporary and werepart of its “social responsibility and to safeguard the well-being of the community in minimising the transmission of the virus”.
It also went on to note that it will review its measures from time to time and will update its website whenever possible. As such, it encourages its customers to look for its announcements in the website.