The owner of a store at the Century Square shopping mall at Tampines has accused a Safe Distancing Ambassador of refusing to scan the SafeEntry QR code when he entered the store and of repeatedly pestering his staff when they were trying to work.
The owner shared surveillance footage that appears to show the Safe Distancing Ambassador’s antics on camera.
In the footage, which was recorded on 30 July, a man wearing a Safe Distancing Ambassador lanyard can be seen entering a store. A female employee of the store asks the man to scan the SafeEntry QR code that is put up at the entrance of the store but the man does not do so.
Instead, he removes a bracelet he is wearing and appears to ask the store staff to polish the bracelet. The employee complies and the man later tells her that the bracelet is a platinum cuff from luxury brand Tiffany.
As the store employee finishes polishing his cuff, the man exclaims, “Wah so nice…oh my God!” and tells the staff that he is going to keep the cuff in the box and that he also has a gold bracelet. The man then asks the employee if she can give him a plastic bag to store his cuff. The employee hands him a small plastic bag to do so.
The man then asks the employee to do something else but the employee says she cannot and waves “bye” to the man, asking him to leave. The man lingers but finally does leave the store.
The video was published on social media by the Sgarooo Facebook page. On how it got access to the video, Sgarooo said: “This was reluctantly shared by the owner of a store in Century Square as he initially wanted to avoid any implication from the authorities, thinking this could be an one-off incident.”
The Safe Distancing Ambassador, however, allegedly started coming to the store daily to pester the staff there. Sgarooo claimed that the man threatened the staff that he would take photos and report them if they breach safe distancing measures but refused to scan the SafeEntry QR code himself when he entered the store:
“However, this Social distancing officer got too bossy and nosey by coming every other day to disturb the staffs, (sic) terrorizing (sic) to take photos and write reports if they breach any measures. He claimed that the staffs (sic) must stand 1-metre apart when serving customers.
“When staff requested him to scan SafeEntry before entering store, he always simply replied he’s not required becos (sic) he’s Social distancing officer.”
Sgarooo added that the female employee in the video was “under duress” to polish the man’s platinum cuff for him and the man did not even bother to request her help properly. Alleging that the man also pressured staff to give him free ear piercing services in exchange for him “closing one eye” if they breach safe distancing rules, the Facebook page reported:
“In this video, the staff is under duress to polish his “Tiffany Platinum” for him.. didn’t even bother to ask properly. On another occasion, the staffs (sic) shared that he even asks the staff if he could get his ears pierced for free and he will close one eye if he sees something amiss.”
Suggesting that the man could be abusing his power as a Safe Distancing Ambassador, the page appealed: “Hope relevant authorities can look into the conduct of such officer to prevent further abuse of authority.”
This was reluctantly shared by the owner of a store in Century Square as he initially wanted to avoid any implication…
Singapore residents widely see Safe Distancing Ambassadors, who are in charge of encouraging members of the public to adhere to safe distancing measures, as representatives of the authorities.
According to a government job portal, Safe Distancing Ambassadors are required to “engage the members of public and advise them against loitering at public places, ensure they maintain safe distancing when in queues to buy food or other necessities and to wear masks while in public places.”
Thousands of Safe Distancing Ambassadors have been deployed across Singapore and these representatives include officers from 65 public agencies as well as those from private sectors whose usual jobs have been disrupted by COVID-19, like cabin crew, tour guides, and volunteers.