On 24 March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced stricter safe distancing measures to reduce the risk of local spread of COVID-19. Tightened measures include reducing the size of group gatherings outside of work and school, and ensuring physical separation of at least one metre between one another.
In line with this announcement, Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Housing & Development Board (HDB), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have drawn up safe distancing measures for shopping malls and standalone stores (e.g. IKEA and COURTS Megastore) to provide a safer shopping experience for customers. These are in addition to the Retail and F&B advisories issued.
All shopping malls and standalone stores must comply with these enhanced safe distancing measures, which will take effect from 26 March 2020, 2359 hours until 30 April 2020.
Safe distancing measures for shopping malls and standalone stores:
Crowd and queue management:
a. Limit the number of people entering the premises to minimise overcrowding, especially during peak periods, so that the occupant load does not exceed one person per 16 square metres (sqm) of usable space.
b. Do not allow groups of more than 10 persons to form. Quickly disperse any such group.
c. Allow tenants to mark queue spots outside their unit, to ensure shoppers in queues stand at least one metre from one another.
d. Allow tenants to extend temporary seating or queues beyond their premises to spread out the crowd where space permits. No enforcement action will be taken by the relevant authorities, provided:
- Fire escape routes, fire engine access lanes and pedestrian walkways are not blocked.
- Pedestrians are not obstructed.
- Nearby residents (especially in heartland estates) are not disturbed.
- Products are not displayed or advertised.
- Mall owners seek relevant landowner’s consent for such temporary seating and queue areas, if the spillover area is not owned by the mall operator.
e. Mall operators with office tenants must stagger the office and lunch hours for their workers to ease peak hour congestion.
Suspension of large group and communal activities:
a. Close common amenities such as infant and children’s play areas or playgrounds, both indoors and outdoors.
b. Close all bars and entertainment venues like nightclubs, pubs, discos, cinemas, theatres, karaoke outlets, arcades and other similar venues.
c. Suspend all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes.
d. Fitness studios may continue to remain open but must adhere to the applicable safe distancing measures.
e. Defer or cancel all events (e.g. exhibitions), regardless of size.
f. Suspend open atrium sales and promotional activities.
g. Cease activities such as busking or live music performances, which are likely to cause patrons to congregate.
h. Groups of diners or shoppers must be limited to 10 persons or fewer.
Other measures to ensure the well-being of patrons:
a. Place hand sanitisers close to high touch surfaces like door handles and entrances and exits so that staff and patrons can sanitise their hands after touching these surfaces.
b. Frequently disinfect common areas in accordance with the sanitation and hygiene advisory issued by the National Environment Agency. The frequency of cleaning and disinfection should be increased and be commensurate with the volume of traffic in the shopping mall or standalone store.
c. Train service staff to provide clear communication on safe distancing measures.
d. Put up simple signage at common areas like store entrances, common corridors, lifts, escalators and concierge, to clearly communicate these practices to shoppers.
These safe distancing measures complement the sanitation and hygiene practices recommended under the SG Clean campaign and are in accordance with MOH health advisories.
Enforcement of Measures
Government agencies will be stepping up enforcement of these safe distancing measures. Non-compliance to the safe distancing measures is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act. Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to S$10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both. In addition, existing levers under the Infectious Diseases Act, including the temporary suspension of operations, may be used against persons and operators who do not comply with the Regulations.
The Government encourages trade associations and chambers to explain these precautionary measures to their respective members. We seek your understanding on the safe distancing arrangements and your cooperation in adopting these measures.
View the original media release here.
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