SINGAPORE — A work pass holder here has had his pass revoked and is permanently banned from working in the city-state for his “blatant breach of ‘circuit breaker’ measures”, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday (12 April).
Investigations revealed that the man, who works in an essential firm, had finished work on Thursday evening, said the ministry in a press statement.
But instead of returning home after having a meal, the man had continued to loiter at “various places for an extended period of time” before returning to his place of residence on Friday, the MOM added.
The places he visited were not specified by the ministry.
It also revealed that 39 fines were issued to work pass holders from Friday to Sunday for breaching the “circuit breaker” measures. These were issued by officers from multiple government agencies – including MOM, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and the National Parks Board.
“These individuals were found to have gathered in groups, engaged in group exercise or participating in recreational activities like frisbee or football with persons who did not live in the same household,” the ministry added.
It cautioned that it will not hesitate to revoke the work passes of these individuals as well as the passes of their dependants if these individuals re-offended.
“Employers and employees have a joint responsibility to abide by safe distancing rules during the circuit breaker,” added the MOM.
“These rules are necessary for the health and safety of the individuals and the community. Ignorance of the requirements is not an excuse and the MOM will not hesitate to enforce against errant individuals.”
It also said that those who have any information on work pass holders or employers breaching “circuit breaker” measures can email the ministry at email@example.com.
30 fined $300 for safe distancing violations
Separately, 30 fines of $300 each were issued to members of the public for not complying with safe distancing measures at or near markets and hawker centres on Sunday, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a separate press statement.
They are part of 152 enforcement actions, including 120 written warnings and two other fines, issued over the last three days to members of the public who did not comply with the measures at or near these areas, said the agency.
This comes a day after Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced stiffer penalties breaching such measures instead of a written warning - those who flout the rules for the first time will be fined $300.
The NEA also said that about 380 enforcement officers were deployed on Sunday to ensure that members of the public comply with safe distancing measures at or near markets and cooked food sections of hawker centres.
Separately, more than 190 SG Clean ambassadors were also deployed to remind the public that eating and drinking, or any form of loitering, are not allowed at or near the cooked food sections of hawker centres.
Among those fined on Sunday were a female foreigner and a Singaporean woman where police assistance was sought. About 28 cases where members of the public were not cooperative when asked to comply with safe distancing measures implemented at hawker centres required such assistance, said the NEA.
The female foreigner had breached the one-metre rule at the market section of the hawker centre at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
“As she did not have her identification card with her, the NEA’s enforcement officers sought assistance from the police,” said the agency.
The Singaporean woman had similarly breached safe distancing measures at the market section of the hawker centre at Block 726 Clementi West Street 2.
“When approached by the NEA’s enforcement officers, she refused to provide her particulars and was uncooperative,” said the NEA, adding the officers had later sought assistance from the police.
Under the COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act, passed in Parliament on Tuesday, the penalty for first-time offenders is up to a $10,000 fine, a jail term of up to six months, or both. For second-time or subsequent offenders, the penalty is a fine of up to $20,000 along with a possible jail term of up to a year.
More orderly queues at markets
The NEA also said that a vast majority of patrons to the markets were seen to be donning masks on Sunday.
Queues that formed outside popular markets became more orderly and manageable as the weekend progressed, with the overall crowds at markets thinning about 50 per cent from Friday to Sunday, it added.
“However, the overall weekend crowd, especially on Friday, was still large at a few hotspots where popular markets are located,” said the NEA.
These include the markets at Geylang Serai, Block 505 Jurong West Street 52, Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road and Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane.
“At their peak, queues of more than 100 people could be seen at these markets, with some of the queues starting as early as before 7am,” it added.
The NEA noted that many patrons have heeded earlier advice to adjust their hours shopping at markets, for instance, going early to shop.
“Queues have started to form earlier at some of these popular markets between 6am to 7am, while the peak hours at the markets usually start from 7am onwards,” said the agency.
“This is an encouraging development, as it evens out the crowds at markets across the day and week, and is critical in ensuring that safe distancing measures remain effective.”
It strongly urged the public to make further adjustments and patronise markets during weekdays, or at the non-peak period between 10am and 12pm on weekends.
“The crowd at markets after 10am is at least 50 per cent less than the earlier peak hours, and fresh produce continues to be available in markets up till noon,” said the agency.
“Members of the public are urged to take safe distancing measures at markets and hawker centres seriously. We are monitoring the situation closely and may take stronger measures if the crowd situation does not improve, to help support the current circuit breaker and halt the transmission of COVID-19 in Singapore.”
To date, Singapore has 2,532 cases of the virus, of which 560 have recovered and eight have died. On Sunday, seven more active clusters were identified, including a handful of foreign worker dorms.
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