Lockdown begins in S’pore

Keeping a safe distance: People hiking at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore. — The Straits Times/ANN

Fewer people were out and about at parks, hawker centres and markets in the city-state on the first day of the new tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

Until June 13, people are allowed out only in groups of two, and dining in is prohibited.

When The Straits Times visited popular parks and nature reserves like East Coast Park, Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, regular park-goers said that the Sunday morning crowd had thinned out and people were generally abiding by the rules.

At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, safe distancing ambassadors and National Parks Board staff were spotted monitoring the crowd.

Most hikers were seen keeping to the two-to-a-group rule and wearing masks as they hiked.

The rock at the summit, a popular spot for pictures, was covered up with a “Work In Progress” sign.

Hikers said that there were noticeably fewer people around yesterday.

Housewife Wong, 56, said: “The crowd in the morning yesterday was so big, it seemed like a carnival. Everyone was trying to hike in big groups of friends or family before the new restrictions.

“But today, it is so much less packed. It doesn’t seem like the usual weekend crowd.”

Those at East Coast Park made a similar observation.

Sophia Fu, 35, said the park was usually busy on the weekend, but not so yesterday.

“Every weekend, I come here with my husband, so the new rules don’t really affect us. He likes to exercise near the beach and I like the fresh air, ” she said.

A cyclist, Eric Lim, 36, who had just finished a morning ride, was also sitting on his own, with his bicycle parked next to him.

He said he would usually be having breakfast with a group of four other cyclists.

“It’s a bummer we can’t chat and have breakfast together, but at least we can still go out, ” said the banker, who added that he hoped outdoor activities would still be allowed, as he always looks forward to cycling and hiking after a long work week.

Regular park-goers at Singapore Botanic Gardens said that the crowd size there was comparable to that of a weekday morning.

As of yesterday, eateries and hawker centres will offer only takeaway and delivery.

The Health Ministry said this is to reduce the risk of transmission, due to the higher risk posed by customers in close proximity and dining for prolonged periods with their masks off. — The Straits Times/ANN

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