Coronavirus pandemic

Punters welcome Singapore Pools' reopening

The outlet at Block 446 Clementi Avenue 3 saw a long queue of punters yesterday afternoon, the first day of Singapore Pools' reopening.
The outlet at Block 446 Clementi Avenue 3 saw a long queue of punters yesterday afternoon, the first day of Singapore Pools' reopening.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Singapore Pools' first day of reopening yesterday after more than two months saw both frequent and occasional punters flock to its branches and authorised retail outlets.

All branches and authorised retailers had been shut since April 7, when the circuit breaker period began.

More than 240 outlets reopened yesterday, though Singapore Pools' Livewire venues and off-course betting centres will stay closed.

The 4-D and Toto lottery draws resume tomorrow and on Thursday, respectively, while Singapore Sweep restarts on Aug 5 with the August draw.

Safe management measures at these outlets included enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas and common spaces, on-ground assistants to manage queues, visual signage and floor demarcations to maintain safe distancing, as well as public education materials, said a Singapore Pools spokesman.

There was a steady stream of punters entering both the Singapore Pools outlet at FairPrice in Clementi Avenue 3 and the branch in Clementi Town Centre yesterday afternoon.

At the supermarket, staff were outside the outlet, conducting temperature scans, guiding punters to check in and showing them where to stand while queueing to maintain a safe distance.

Cleaning supervisor Dominic Pereira, 68, who used to bet thrice a week, told The Straits Times: "(The measures) are good, they have the proper procedure of queueing up instead of people rushing and getting too close to one another."

He added: "It is good that (Singapore Pools outlets) have reopened. Today is my first time after a few months' break, so hopefully I will have some luck."

Some punters were like Madam Tan Lai Wan, who decided to place a bet as she was at the supermarket buying groceries. The 51-year-old felt there was little hassle in observing the safety measures in place.

Her sentiments were shared by food and beverage outlet manager Henry Vijay Kumar Charles and real estate agent Adrian Lim, who were at the Holland Drive branch.

 
 

Mr Lim, 54, said: "It is not troublesome because (these measures) are common and in place everywhere."

Mr Henry, 37, who bought a 4-D ticket with his friend's new car number, praised the clear indications of the distance punters had to maintain. "I feel it is safe," he said.

Other measures include cascading the Toto game at the second instead of the fourth consecutive draw to avoid overcrowding. Customers are also advised to avoid peak hours and to consider contactless bet placement through a registered Singapore Pools account.

A retiree who wanted to be known only as Mr Sia said of his visit to the Clementi Town Centre branch: "I waited about five minutes. The process was very fast and (the measures) were not troublesome."

Asked if he was happy about the Singapore Pools outlets reopening, the 75-year-old chuckled: "I will be happier if I win."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2020, with the headline 'Punters welcome Singapore Pools' reopening'. Print Edition | Subscribe