SINGAPORE - Around 200 composition fines of $300 were issued to members of the public who did not comply with elevated safe distancing measures across Singapore, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (April 14).
From Thursday, members of the public who are out and about without wearing a mask will be given a $300 fine.
It is now mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when they step out as part of stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with the exception of children under two and those doing strenuous exercise such as running.
In his post, Mr Masagos said that he was "sad" to learn about the 200 fines issued on Tuesday.
"Our officers again found people loitering, sitting down to eat at places where they shouldn't, going into cordoned-off areas, exercising together when they were not from the same household and turning aggressive when asked to leave," he added.
He called for the public to cooperate by staying home as far as possible.
"And if you go out for essentials, please comply with safe distancing measures - wear a mask too - so that we would not need to continue to deploy large numbers of enforcement officers, who can then focus on delivering essential services for you."
Last Saturday, the minister warned that there would be stiffer penalties for such breaches, after enforcement officers reported there were still too many people not taking the measures seriously.
First-time offenders will be fined $300 and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court in egregious cases.
Previously, first-time offenders were issued a written warning, while second-time offenders were fined $300, and those nabbed a third time were then charged in court.
On Sunday, around 380 enforcement officers were deployed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to ensure that people complied with the measures at or near markets and cooked food sections of hawker centres.
Correction note: An earlier version of the article said fines will be issued from Wednesday to members of the public who are out and about without wearing a mask. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli's Facebook post has since been edited to say enforcement will start from Thursday.