Covid-19 crowd control measures at some sites during Qing Ming festival

Government-managed columbariums in Choa Chu Kang, Mandai and Yishun will remain open 24/7 from March 20 to April 18.
Government-managed columbariums in Choa Chu Kang, Mandai and Yishun will remain open 24/7 from March 20 to April 18.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Crowd control measures to ensure safe distancing will be introduced during Qing Ming, or the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival, with visits to some sites limited to two per household.

The festival this year takes place on April 4. The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday (March 5) said crowds are expected to peak on Good Friday, which falls on April 2, as well as on the weekends between March 20 and April 18.

Those driving to Mandai Columbarium on these days will have to book an appointment, as crowds are expected to be larger this year due to high niche occupancy. Visitors should carpool, the NEA said.

Those visiting Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and government-managed columbariums in Choa Chu Kang, Mandai and Yishun are advised to limit the number of visitors to two per household.

These columbariums will remain open 24/7 from March 20 to April 18. Visitors are encouraged to go on weekdays.

To reduce traffic congestion, visitors can also take shuttle bus services which will be provided.

For Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and Columbarium, a shuttle bus service at 15-minute intervals will be provided at $1 per trip between the NEA's claims and registration office at Christian Cemetery Path 2, and Choa Chu Kang Columbarium.

For Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium, a shuttle bus service, which also costs $1 per trip, will be deployed between Khatib MRT station, at the Exit A pick-up point, and the rear entrance of Mandai Columbarium in Mandai Avenue.

Both bus services will operate on weekends between March 20 and April 18, and on April 2.

The NEA reminded members of the public to be socially responsible, in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"Those feeling unwell or are sick should stay at home, see a doctor and avoid visiting," it said.

Visitors are requested to refrain from bringing seniors and young children, and to avoid eating and drinking at the columbariums. They must maintain a 1m distance apart from one another and wear a mask at all times.

To avoid crowds at joss paper burning areas in the columbariums, the NEA will set up joss paper collection booths where visitors can deposit joss paper for burning on selected days.

"Members of the public are also encouraged to burn joss paper in small quantities to minimise smoke emission and avoid creating fire hazards... in view of the ongoing warm and dry weather," said the NEA.

The agency also asked people to remember not to leave food offerings or litter behind, as this could lead to mosquito breeding or rat infestation.

In its advisory on Friday, the NEA also told the public to exercise care while moving around Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and to watch out for potholes and cracks.

People should also exercise discretion if they engage grave maintenance services that are not regulated by the agency.

"Next-of-kin who have not made prior private arrangements for such services are advised not to pay anyone who claims to have maintained the graves of their loved ones," it said.

Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.