The government has introduced more stringent safe distancing measures on Mar. 26, which includes new penalties for offenders.
Those who do not adhere to the one-meter safe distancing measures in public places could see themselves paying a hefty fine, or landed in jail.
Individuals to sit and queue one metre apart
These penalties were announced in amendments to the Infectious Disease Act and published on the government’s e-gazette.
The changes were announced at around 11pm on Thursday. This came right before the closure of entertainment venues like bars, clubs and cinemas to reduce transmission of the virus, a move which was announced earlier on Mar. 24.
Those who contravene the Act include individuals who intentionally sit on a seat that is not at least one metre away from other seated individuals in a public place.
Individuals should not sit on a seat that has been marked out as not to be occupied, or queue less than one metre away from another person in the queue.
Those who do so will be guilty of an offence and can be fined up to S$10,000 or jailed up to six months or both.
Increased measures for event organisers, and owners and occupants of public spaces
The same penalties apply to a slew of other safe distancing measures.
Owners of public places and organisers of events will be liable to the same penalties if safe distancing measures are not adhered to.
These include those own or occupy shopping centres, a place of attraction specified in the Act, places of worship and funeral parlours.
Some of these attractions include museums in Singapore, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Gardens By The Bay, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Universal Studios Singapore, Esplanade and numerous attractions at Sentosa.
The owners and occupants of these places have to ensure that seats that are not fixed to the floor are positioned at least one metre away from any other seat at all times, and seats that are fixed to the floor, such as hawker centres, have alternate seats demarcated as not to be occupied.
They also have to ensure that people in queues to purchase items, or in areas like toilets, are spaced one metre apart.
Event organisers are to ensure that attendees consume their food and beverages at least one metre away from other individuals, and that the good is served in individual portions "in a manner that minimises the time and extent that individuals may interact when eating".
Organisers are also required to conduct temperature checks, ensure attendees do not exhibit symptoms and obtain the contact details of every attendee to facilitate contact tracing.
Control period between Mar. 27 and Apr. 30
The government has also imposed a "control period" between Mar. 27 and Apr. 30 (both dates inclusive).
All competitions, sporting events, exhibitions, trade fairs, organised tours, tuition in public places, and any entertainment event held at venues like cinemas, theatres and arcades are prohibited during this control period.
For any other event, organisers must ensure there are no more than 10 attendees, unless the event is conducted in the course of business or education in the workplace or in an educational institution.
An individual can also commit an offence if they take part in any prohibited event held during the control period despite knowing there are more than 10 individuals in the event.
Top photo from Joshua Lee