NEWS

Parliament Q&A

Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Safe Distancing Measures, on 6 October 2020

TOPICS: Covid-19

Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what is being done to alleviate the disamenities and inconveniences caused by the placement of safety distancing barricades and markers at public places; and (b) whether the responses pertaining to feedback from the public concerning safe distancing features are dealt with in a timely manner.


Answer:

 

  1. COVID-19 is a global pandemic of unprecedented scale and will remain with us for some time. We must therefore adapt and adjust the way we live, work and play to reduce the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and others around us safe. 


  1. During the Circuit Breaker period, the Government implemented stringent safe management and safe distancing measures, to curb disease transmission. The barricades and markers to restrict access to amenities such as public benches, fitness corners, sports stadiums were necessary to protect the well-being of our population. 


  1. We removed some of these barriers and markers as we gradually reopened our economy in Phase 2, to allow more businesses to operate. However, we must remain vigilant to keep the COVID-19 cases down. Every day, around 3,000 Safe Distancing Ambassadors and Enforcement Officers are deployed to educate the public and take enforcement action against egregious cases. 


  1. In crowded areas, control measures are still necessary to ensure safe distancing and prevent inter-mingling between groups to curb transmission. For instance, we have maintained, or even enhanced, access controls at some crowded hotspots like popular markets, shopping malls and beaches, in tandem with enhanced public education efforts. We work closely with the business operators in implementing these measures, and are grateful for their understanding as we strike a balance between protecting livelihoods and preventing community spread. 


  1. At the same time, we are mindful to minimise inconvenience to patrons and businesses from these safe distancing measures, such as longer waiting times and disruptions to businesses. Agencies are in constant discussion with stakeholders and re-calibrate our measures where the situation allows. For example, NEA had recently lifted the odd or even date entry restrictions at the four popular markets following feedback from stakeholders, and after assessing the crowd levels and the risks of transmission.


  1. With the co-operation from business operators and the community, we have been able to manage the COVID-19 situation and keep community spread low. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. I urge everyone to continue to cooperate and play your part in adhering to safe management and safe distancing measures, so that we continue to keep community transmission under control. 

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