Shoppers at wet markets, supermarkets and malls were donning masks yesterday as they went about buying groceries on the first day that wearing masks became compulsory at these premises.
A check at more than 10 markets and malls showed that patrons adhered to the stricter measures that the Government introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Regular fitness enthusiasts at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir Park also told The Straits Times that footfall had dropped.
Retiree Toh Kok Chuan, 68, who visits Bukit Timah Hill at least twice a month with his wife, said: "It is less crowded now. People are also more conscious about putting some distance between themselves."
Engineer Harold Tan, 41, who jogs at MacRitchie Reservoir Park once a week, said the number of visitors yesterday had at least halved compared with end-January, the initial period of the outbreak.
Signs were put up at the entrances of malls and markets informing patrons that they would be denied entry if they did not have masks on. Guards and safe distancing ambassadors were also stationed to ensure that shoppers complied with the stricter regulations.
"Please wear a mask before entering. Shoppers who fail to do so will be denied entry," said a sign at the entrance of 111 Somerset mall.
An orange barrier circled Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, with a gap for entry and exit where two security officers ensured customers wore masks.
Private tutor Derrick Yeo, 34, went home to take a mask after he and his girlfriend reached Tiong Bahru market at about noon.
"I did not know that we needed to wear a mask to enter wet markets now," he said.
Mrs Jeannie Seet, 60, who was buying chicken at the market in Marine Terrace, said it was a good idea to make shoppers wear masks.
The sales manager said: "I have been wearing masks everywhere I go even before they announced this requirement.
"My family have also been trying to stay home as much as they can, and I go out only for necessities."
Housewife Nurul Latif, 27, who had given birth recently, said it made her feel better and safer to see shoppers donning masks.
Ms Nurul, who was buying groceries for herself and nine other family members at the Giant hypermarket in Tampines, said it was her first trip out of the house in about two months, not counting the trip to the hospital when she was in labour.
"We are trying to stay at home. So, we take turns, one at a time, when it comes to buying groceries," she added.
The supermarkets in Orchard Road were also quiet.
Three out of four supermarkets that ST visited had no queues, with the exception at Japanese mart Don Don Donki at Orchard Central, where about 10 people waited in line to enter.
Sheng Siong Group chief executive Lim Hock Chee said customers had put on their masks before entering the supermarkets yesterday.
"Shoppers were cooperative," Mr Lim said in Mandarin.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said earlier this month that the Government will no longer discourage people from wearing face masks after evidence showed that asymptomatic coronavirus carriers can pass the virus to others.
Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board said on Saturday that all customers visiting supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and shopping malls must wear masks to protect their health and well-being, as well as that of other customers and staff at the premises.
The National Environment Agency said last Friday that the generally crowded and closed-in environment in markets, as well as the continued crowding observed the same day, led it to make wearing masks a requirement for customers.
The latest update was in addition to crowd management measures, such as controlled entry and exit points, that the agency had already put in place.