SINGAPORE - There will be no Chinatown street light-up this weekend and on the eve of Chinese New Year on Feb 11, as part of measures to control bigger crowds in the area.
The authorities may also restrict access to popular areas in Chinatown such as Pagoda Street and Trengganu Street during peak hours on weekends, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) on Friday (Feb 5).
The festive lights along South Bridge Road, New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street will not be turned on from Friday to Sunday, and on Feb 11, the ministry said.
It also announced a slew of enforcement actions taken against errant food and beverage (F&B) outlets and individuals who breached Covid-19 rules.
In all, 74 people have been fined for flouting the rules at parks and beaches. Two groups, comprising more than 20 people each, are also under investigation for allegedly gathering at East Coast Park and Changi Beach Park on Jan 30.
The MSE has also ordered three F&B outlets - Bumbu in Kandahar Street, Darts Buddy in Beatty Road and Drinks Emporium in Club Street - to close.
Nine other establishments including Chinatown Seafood in Trengganu Street and Bao Ding in Mosque Street, were fined $1,000 each.
The new crowd control measures in Chinatown include closing the up-riding escalator at Chinatown MRT station exit A from time to time, depending on the size of the crowd in Pagoda Street. Passengers will be guided by station staff to use alternative exits.
Chinatown has been more crowded than usual in the run-up to Chinese New Year, with hundreds of shoppers descending on the wet market at Chinatown Complex on Tuesday morning.
Various entrances to the Chinatown Complex wet market have since been fenced up to control access and there were floor markings in the wet market reminding customers to stand 1m apart.
Noting that measures may be put in place to control access to Pagoda Street and Trengganu Street, the MSE advised visitors to cater for additional time to walk and queue in order to enter the busier stretches in those areas.
Other measures may be implemented for crowd management and visitor safety, depending on the situation on the ground, including closing Temple Street to vehicular traffic, the ministry said.
It urged the public to adapt their Chinese New Year celebrations this festive period.
"This will help to protect vulnerable members in our community, such as the elderly. Let us be socially responsible in observing all these measures to prevent a resurgence in community transmission," the ministry said.
F&B outlets taken to task
Bumbu in Kandahar Street was found to have a group of 14 diners split over two tables on Jan 29. It will be shut for 10 days till Feb 13.
Darts Buddy and Drinks Emporium had allowed diners to consume alcohol after 10.30pm and 1.10am respectively.
Darts Buddy's main door and shutters were closed, and officers had to enter the premises by the rear door. It will be closed for 10 days till Feb 10.
Meanwhile, Drinks Emporium will be closed for 20 days between Feb 3 and 22. It was previously fined $1,000 and ordered to close for the same offence, as well as for providing games for diners.
Under Covid-19 regulations, food and beverage outlets are not allowed to provide games if they are not also an amusement centre.
As for the nine outlets that were fined, some had allowed groups of diners to sit less than 1m apart. Others had allowed diners to play billiard and pool games on their premises.
"Increased social interactions during festive periods heightens the risk of Covid-19 transmission. It is critical that members of the public and premise operators stay vigilant," said the MSE.
Additional safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will be deployed to ensure members of the public comply with the safe management measures, it added.
Agencies will also be checking the bookings made at food and beverage outlets and managing crowds in areas such as Chinatown.
"Where there are multiple bookings for diners from the same household, food and beverage operators should verify diners' claims that they are from the same household, and can reject entry of diners at their discretion," said the MSE.