Bookings required to drive to Choa Chu Kang, Mandai columbaria during Qing Ming period

A booking system was successfully implemented at the Mandai Columbarium during the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Visitors planning to drive to Choa Chu Kang and Mandai columbaria during peak times in the upcoming Qing Ming Festival period will be required to book a timeslot in advance.

This comes after a booking system was successfully implemented at the Mandai Columbarium during the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival last year, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday (March 2).

The Qing Ming Festival takes place on April 5.

The visiting period is between March 26 and April 17. The three government-managed columbaria in Choa Chu Kang, Mandai and Yishun will open round the clock throughout that time.

NEA said that crowds at Choa Chu Kang and Mandai columbaria are expected to be larger this year, given the higher niche occupancy.

Those looking to avoid crowds should refrain from visiting at weekends, the day of the Qing Ming Festival (April 5), and Good Friday (April 15), it added.

The e-appointment booking system for drivers, accessible at this website, will improve traffic flow at these two locations during peak visiting periods between March 26 and April 17, said NEA.

Visitors planning to drive to Mandai Columbarium between 6am and 4pm from March 26 to April 17 need to book a slot.

Those looking to drive to Choa Chu Kang Columbarium between 6am and 4pm on weekends, Qing Ming Festival and Good Friday are required to make bookings.

Appointment slots will be released two weeks before peak visiting days, starting on at 10am on March 12.

Visitors taking public transport will not be required to make appointment bookings. Non-registered vehicles can still drop off passengers at the designated drop-off points.

NEA said it will also be putting in place several other crowd control measures at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and government-managed columbaria during the Qing Ming period.

This is in view of the Covid-19 situation and existing safe management measures.

Visitors should avoid bringing elderly family members, young children and pets.

They should limit group sizes to the prevailing allowed number, which is currently five.

NEA will deploy safe distancing ambassadors at the various facilities.

The agency also said that the Garden of Peace inland ash scattering facility at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex will be closed to visitors during weekends and on public holidays during the Qing Ming period.

This will give privacy to those who have booked slots to scatter ashes, said NEA. Only applicants with an approved booking for inland ash scattering will be allowed access into the facility.

Members of the public looking for more details, such as the available shuttle bus services during the peak days, can visit this website.

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