Oral reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Enforcement of Mask Wearing, on 2 November 2020
Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment as we move towards further easing measures in the community, how will the social distancing ambassadors be aided to enforce rules on the ground as there will be more grey areas on when and how to mask on.
1 Since the start of Circuit Breaker period, agencies have continued to deploy Safe Distancing Ambassadors and Enforcement Officers to advise the public and enforce on safe distancing measures. These measures are critical to safeguard public health and protect ourselves and each other, even as we gradually open up our economy and social settings. Even though caseloads are currently low, we must not let our guard down. We will need to stay nimble and calibrate our measures appropriately. For example, we recently lifted the odd or even entry restrictions at the four popular markets but stepped up our enforcement at F&B hotspots.
2 In line with this, our Safe Distancing Ambassadors and Enforcement Officers are regularly updated on the safe distancing measures, including the rules of engagement with premises operators and members of the public. They are briefed by their team leaders and supervisors on adjustments to the measures and provided reference material through their mobile devices. They are also deployed in teams of at least two, where a more experienced officer will be partnered with a newer one to provide support and guidance.
3 Mask wearing will remain an important measure for public health, to protect ourselves and those we come into contact with. Mask wearing will remain mandatory for anyone leaving their homes. A recent study by A*STAR found that small particles from a person’s cough could travel more than one metre within eight seconds if no mask was worn. On the other hand, wearing a mask would help reduce the spread of the virus, by significantly reducing the droplets and aerosols ejected from a person’s nose and mouth. Everyone should put on your mask at all times, including putting your mask back on immediately after activities such as eating, drinking, or engaging in strenuous exercise. You should also keep your mask on when seated before you start consuming your food or drink or before you begin your workout.
4 We have been able to contain the COVID-19 situation with the co-operation of the community and business operators. I urge everyone to continue to play your part in adhering to these safe distancing measures and to co-operate with the Safe Distancing Ambassadors and Enforcement Officers, so that we continue to keep community transmission of COVID-19 under control.