Visitors at attractions again - with safety measures in place

Children outside Universal Studios Singapore yesterday. A steady stream of visitors was seen entering the attraction when The Sunday Times visited. Visitors outside the S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa yesterday. A visitor said she was not worried about sa
Visitors outside the S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa yesterday. A visitor said she was not worried about safety as the aquarium was not too crowded.ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY
Children outside Universal Studios Singapore yesterday. A steady stream of visitors was seen entering the attraction when The Sunday Times visited. Visitors outside the S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa yesterday. A visitor said she was not worried about sa
Children outside Universal Studios Singapore yesterday. A steady stream of visitors was seen entering the attraction when The Sunday Times visited. ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY

Attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and the Singapore Zoo buzzed with visitors once again yesterday, with a slew of safety measures in place.

Both attractions, as well as 11 others, were given the green light last week to reopen from July 1.

They had been closed for nearly three months, since the start of Singapore's circuit breaker on April 7.

Other attractions and domestic tour operators can submit reopening proposals to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for assessment, and may resume operations after receiving approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

As of Friday, STB had received six applications from tour operators, and around 40 applications from attractions. It said several more attractions have received approval and will announce their reopening dates in the coming weeks.

A steady stream of visitors was seen entering USS yesterday afternoon when The Sunday Times visited Sentosa, while the S.E.A. Aquarium had a slower but regular flow of people. Visitors took easily to the safety measures. Masks were worn and queues were orderly, with everyone maintaining safe distances.

Interior designer Jomin Lin, 29, was at the aquarium with her husband and their one-year-old son.

She said: "It was a good trip and I'm happy we brought our kid out. He's been home for very long and he gets grumpy sometimes."

When asked if she was concerned about safety, she said she was not worried as the aquarium was not too crowded and she had also taken precautions for her son by bringing along a face shield for him.

Secondary school student Enya Oh, 15, said she and a friend decided to visit USS since they have annual passes to the theme park.

"When the circuit breaker started, it was very difficult to accept having to live in isolation. But coming out again today made me feel a lot better about the new normal," she said.

 
 
 

While excited to be able to visit the theme park, she was also cautious. She had also brought along her own hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes and an extra mask.

"On our entry ticket, there is a list of safety precautions for us to follow, such as taking your temperature and maintaining social distancing," she said.

Though queues for the rides were long due to each ride having a limited rider capacity, Enya said she enjoyed the park's upbeat atmosphere. "It felt like a short break from the outside world," she added.

Attractions have deployed staff to ensure people continue to keep a safe distance from one another, while visitor numbers are limited to no more than 25 per cent of operating capacity at any one time.

Some, such as the Singapore Zoo, have also applied an antimicrobial coating on high-touch surfaces.

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) said it is taking a "careful and controlled approach" to reopening its attractions.

For example, at USS, visitors have to sit in alternate rows for all rides, with family members or those from the same group occupying the same row. All rides are wiped down after each use and all 3D glasses are disinfected after every use.

At the RWS casino, dealers have to disinfect their hands before entering and exiting the pits as well as after handling items from patrons.

Gaming chips collected from customers are cleaned and sanitised, and playing cards are disposed of after two hours of use.

A spokesman for Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said its parks are implementing regular cleaning routines. Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and the Singapore Zoo will reopen to the public tomorrow. Members have been able to visit from Friday. Night Safari will reopen at a later date.

"We have applied an antimicrobial coating to enhance safety across our high-touch points. This will be supported by hourly cleaning protocols," the spokesman said.

Some activities, such as the animal presentations at the Singapore Zoo, have also been temporarily suspended to prevent crowding.

 
 
 

Operating at 25 per cent of capacity allows WRS' three open parks to have between 1,000 and 2,250 visitors at any one time.

However, some people remain cautious.

Mr Wilson Nah, 45, who works in supply chain management, had intended to visit USS with his 10-year-old son yesterday.

He decided not to go in after seeing the long queues. "Observing the queue outside USS, it seemed very crowded. I am concerned that it might not be possible to have 1m distancing," he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2020, with the headline 'Visitors at attractions again - with safety measures in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe