Police investigating people who gathered in Robertson Quay: Masagos

The police have tracked down "a number of the individuals" who gathered in Robertson Quay at the weekend despite the circuit breaker, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.

"These persons are non-Singaporeans and are currently under police investigation," he said, adding that the authorities will enforce the law against anybody found breaching safe distancing measures.

In his Facebook post, the minister referred to photos of crowds in Robertson Quay that circulated on social media this past weekend.

The photos, which were shared in a Facebook post on Saturday evening, showed people failing to stay at least 1m from one another in the riverside dining enclave.

Most of the people pictured were not wearing masks, while some had their masks lowered as they spoke to one another.

Netizens, noting that the riverside area tends to draw an expatriate crowd, were quick to suggest there might be "double standards" at play.

Others called the people out on their behaviour, saying they were selfish and disrespectful of front-line workers.

Mr Masagos said: "The circuit breaker can only work when everybody plays their part. We will enforce against anybody found breaching safe distancing measures."

He noted that Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) officers have been patrolling the area, and most people and operators there are complying with the measures.

 
 
 
 

But some restaurants selling takeaway alcohol had contributed to individuals gathering around these premises, he said.

On Sunday, the URA issued a written direction to 10 restaurants to immediately stop the sale of take-away alcohol. The agency will continue monitoring the area with the police to ensure compliance by operators and individuals.

A URA spokesman said on Sunday that the agency has been doing regular patrols in areas such as the Central Business District, Singapore River - which includes Robertson Quay - and conservation districts. While it found the majority of operators and individuals com-pliant with circuit breaker measures, nearly 30 fines and five closure orders have been issued in the past month to individuals and business operators.

Mr Masagos said: "We urge everyone to abide by both the letter and spirit of the law to contain Covid-19. If you see any offenders, please don't just take photos for a posting. Report it through the OneService app with specific details and photos."

He also said Singapore is seeing progress during the circuit breaker, which has been going on for about six weeks, with two more weeks to go. As of Sunday, the number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of eight per day two weeks ago to an average of three per day in the past week.

"However, the fight against Covid-19 is far from over," Mr Masagos noted. "Countries around the world are racing to curb a second wave of infections."

He urged Singapore residents to continue staying at home as far as possible, and observe safe distancing and wear a mask if they have to leave their home.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2020, with the headline 'Police investigating people who gathered in Robertson Quay: Masagos'. Print Edition | Subscribe