SINGAPORE: More than 200 fines will be issued to members of the public for flouting elevated safe distancing measures on Sunday (Apr 12), the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said in a press release.

The figures come a day after Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced that those caught breaking circuit breaker measures would all be fined S$300 instead of getting a written warning.

READ: S$300 fine for flouting circuit breaker measures, no more warnings: Masagos

Police assistance was required for more than 20 cases who were uncooperative, said the ministry.

Separately, the Singapore Food Agency will also be issuing a S$1,000 fine to an operator for illegally hawking “perishable wares” along Bukit Batok on Saturday, said MEWR.

“Non-essential service providers must not carry out any business from any premises. Non-compliance is an offence,” said the ministry.

FINES ISSUED FOR NON-COMPLIANCE AT MARKETS, HAWKER CENTRES

Meanwhile, 30 fines of S$300 each were issued to members of the public on Sunday for not complying with safe distancing measures at or near markets and hawker centres, said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

On Sunday, the agency deployed about 380 enforcement officers to ensure public compliance with safe distancing measures. 

More than 190 SG Clean Ambassadors were also deployed to remind the public not to eat, drink or loiter at or near the cooked food section of hawker centres.

Since Friday, a total of 32 fines and 120 written warnings have been issued to members of the public for flouting safe distancing measures at or near the markets and cooked food sections of hawker centres, said NEA.

Police assistance was required for 28 cases, where members of the public were “not cooperative” when asked to comply with safe distancing measures.

“Any member of the public found in breach of safe distancing measures will face a fine of S$300 on the first offence. Repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases,” said NEA.

READ: 40 fines, more than 3,100 warnings issued for safe distancing offences

LARGE CROWDS AT POPULAR MARKETS

Most people were seen wearing masks on Sunday, after NEA announced that those without masks would not be allowed to enter the 40 markets managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.

READ: Markets to refuse entry to people not wearing masks from Sunday: NEA

Over the long weekend, adherence to safe distancing requirements “remained high” and queues that formed outside popular markets became more orderly and manageable as the weekend progressed, said the agency. Overall crowds at markets thinned down about 50 per cent from Friday to Sunday, it added.

But the overall weekend crowd was still large at a few popular markets, especially on Friday, said NEA.

These included markets at Geylang Serai, Block 505 Jurong West Street 52, Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road and Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane.

“At their peak, queues of more than 100 people could be seen at these markets, with some of the queues starting as early as before 7am,” said NEA.

The situation seemed to get better on Sunday, with the crowd at Geylang Serai market observed to be about 50 per cent smaller than on a typical weekend, according to MEWR, and queues dispersing quickly.

Tekka market did not have queues and the crowd was thin, said the ministry.

It added that “significantly reduced” numbers of people were seen at town and neighbourhood centres on Sunday, and that crowds at parks have thinned.

However, a “small minority” of people continue to gather in groups to exercise, play sports and socialise, it added.

READ: PM Lee appeals to older Singaporeans to stay at home during COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ period

ADJUSTING MARKETING HOURS

Many have also adjusted their marketing hours and have started to queue at popular markets between 6am to 7am, according to NEA. This is despite peak hours normally starting from 7am.

“This is an encouraging development, as it evens out the crowds at markets across the day and week, and is critical in ensuring that safe distancing measures remain effective,” said NEA.

The agency urged the public to visit markets during weekdays, or the non-peak period between 10am and 12pm on weekends.

After 10pm, the crowd is at least 50 per cent less than peak hours, and fresh produce continues to be available until noon, said the agency.

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