Bukit Batok Driving Centre temporarily barring customers who live in Bukit Merah View area

The centre said students of BBDC who live in Bukit Merah View were told to cancel existing lesson bookings immediately. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - Customers of Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) who live in the Bukit Merah View area will be temporarily barred from entering the centre from Monday (June 28) in the light of an "active cluster" of Covid-19 cases in the area.

In a post on its website on Sunday, the centre said BBDC students who live in Bukit Merah View were told to cancel existing lesson bookings immediately, and that no refunds for their lessons would be given if they are denied entry to BBDC.

"The affected customers will receive an SMS from us. Customers with existing lessons, please cancel your lesson immediately," the centre wrote in the post.

BBDC added that affected customers should monitor its website for the latest information on when they will be allowed entry into their premises again.

Those taking theory or practical tests were instructed not to cancel their test, but to wait for more information from BBDC.

When contacted by The Straits Times, BBDC general manager Ang Koh Kwee said the centre had decided on the measure as it has "a group of customers from (Bukit Merah View)".

"We have big groups of customers and staff on our premises, and lessons are conducted one-to-one, so we didn't want to take the risk of infection and advised them to temporarily cancel their lessons instead," he said.

Mr Ang also said that those who cancel their lessons in advance will be refunded their lesson fees. He added that the centre is unable to confirm when it will resume lessons for affected customers, but will reconsider its decision in a week's time, depending on the number of new Covid-19 cases reported daily.

University student Nat Tan tried to book a theory test for July 8, but received an SMS telling her to cancel the class because she is "residing in an active Covid-19 cluster".

"I think it's really unfair that they're asking all those who live near or within the Bukit Merah cluster to cancel classes," said the 21-year-old. "I'm fully vaccinated, and I've not been to any of the affected places or asked to get tested, so why am I being banned from entering the school?"

Another driving school, the Singapore Safety Driving Centre, told ST that it will be allowing entry to customers residing in Bukit Merah View as long as they produce a negative test result prior to lessons.

ST has contacted the Ministry of Health for comments.

Earlier in May this year, students attending lessons at ComfortDelGro Driving Centre were turned away if their TraceTogether data showed that they had been in close proximity with Covid-19 cases.

The centre reversed its decision after MOH and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office commented on the issue, saying that businesses should not use exposure alert information on the TraceTogether app to grant or deny access to their premises.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.