Robertson Quay has been the focus of attention after photos showing crowds of people loitering in the area despite the circuit breaker measures going viral on social media. While the crowds only came to light on the 40th day of the two-month long circuit breaker, one downtown worker said that the area has been bustling for weeks.
Hotel receptionist Doreen, a 41-year-old who works in the area, told TODAY, “It has been this crowded… since one or two weeks ago. I think a lot of them are taking the safe distancing measures very lightly. I’ve seen some of them walk around without masks on, especially in the evenings. It’s like they don’t care.”
Photos showing crowds of people mingling without masks or with their masks pulled all the way down have angered fellow Singapore residents who have been hunkering down at home to do their part in flattening the curve of COVID-19 infection.
A day after the photos went viral, on Sunday (17 May), the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) ordered the food and beverage (F&B) establishments at Robertson Quay to immediately stop selling takeaway alcohol and said that the sale of takeaway contributed to the crowds gathering in the vicinity.
Restaurant managers, however, said that it is difficult to manage patrons who are stubborn about adhering to the safe distancing rules. Botany cafe’s store manager told TODAY that some patrons are so stubborn that they refuse to listen to staff’s advice to leave their premises and insist on having their meals at the cafe.
The manager of Japanese restaurant Dashi Master Marusaya, also recounted that some people have to be told repeatedly to leave. He said: “Some of them are just stubborn… they will not gather in our premises but outside. How can we stop them?”
The store manager of Toby’s Estate cafe, Michael Lim, told the publication that the number of people in the Robertson Quay area has grown three times greater than what it was before the circuit breaker measures began. He added that patrons removed the stacked chairs in his cafe’s alfresco area and sat on them despite the Government’s directive to maintain safe distancing.
That same day, TODAY visited the area and found that it was “bustling with joggers, cyclists and people strolling with their children in tow.”
Although the URA said that it found that “the majority of operators and individuals to be compliant with safe distancing measures,” it added that it will fine individuals who breach safe distancing measures.