Attractions, eateries gear up for bigger crowd as S'pore enters phase 3 from Monday

 Visitors to Sentosa's beaches, dining establishments and other attractions can make reservations for groups of up to eight starting on Monday.
Visitors to Sentosa's beaches, dining establishments and other attractions can make reservations for groups of up to eight starting on Monday.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - As Singapore moves into the long-awaited third phase of its reopening on Monday (Dec 28), attractions like Gardens by the Bay have put in place more measures to accommodate more visitors.

The nature park has installed automated thermal scanners at the entrances to its cooled conservatories, which will sound an alarm if a visitor with a high temperature tries to enter.

The entrances and exits of the conservatories are also equipped with automated people counters to monitor their capacity, and areas have been marked out to accommodate larger groups.

Attractions that have applied to raise their capacity limit to 65 per cent of their full capacity can do so from Monday under loosened measures for phase 3, up from the 50 per cent limit which has been in effect since Singapore entered phase two on June 19.

Groups of up to eight people can now gather socially, up from a limit of five, and the capacity limit for malls and large standalone stores will be increased from 10 sq m per person to 8 sq m per person.

Also increasing their capacity limits are four parks managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) - Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

WRS said more safe-distancing ambassadors will be deployed at its parks during phase 3, especially during peak days.

On Sentosa, the Siloso Beach Party annual New Year's Eve countdown will not be held this year, but a spokesman for Sentosa said visitors to the island's beaches, dining establishments and other attractions can make reservations for groups of up to eight starting on Monday.

In line with current measures, beachgoers will have to book time slots if they intend to visit on weekends and public holidays, but those who are only patronising food and beverage outlets at the beach will not have to book a slot.

At The Prive Group's restaurants, its chairman Yuan Oeij said changes to their layouts will be made if necessary, to accommodate larger groups of diners.

Given that phase 3 begins amid the festive season, Mr Oeij said Prive's restaurants have seen "a flood of requests for bookings, especially larger tables". The group's Chinese restaurant, Empress, has also seen an increase in bookings for large tables in anticipation of Chinese New Year.

Mr Oeij said that with the rules being relaxed, he anticipates there may be "even more pressure from a minority of customers who do not understand safe distancing sufficiently and want operators to break the rules", something that has been a bugbear for restaurants since phase two started and dining out was allowed again.


Safe distancing markers being adjusted at Toa Payoh Lorong 5 Food Centre on the first day of phase 3 reopening on Dec 28, 2020. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Meanwhile, Frasers Property Retail, which manages malls like The Centrepoint, Causeway Point and Century Square, said more entry and exit points have been opened to ensure smooth traffic in and around the malls, and existing hygiene and safe management measures will continue to be observed.

With the relaxation of rules, infectious diseases specialist Dr Leong Hoe Nam warned that there will likely be more community cases as larger social gatherings occur.

Places like South Korea and Hong Kong showed "exemplary conduct in their first-wave control" but had to institute painful lockdowns when infections surged as they loosened restrictions, a situation that Singapore would want to avoid.

"As we go into phase 3, we must remember the battle scars of the circuit breaker," Dr Leong added.

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Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.