Fines, prosecution for those who repeatedly flout Singapore’s circuit breaker rules

The Singapore government is cracking down on repeat offenders who break the new rules put in place as part of the country’s circuit breaker measures in its fight against COVID-19. 

“We are on the third day of our ‘circuit breaker’, but still far too many public gatherings are happening. The number of new COVID-19 cases is increasing sharply, and we must comply with the Stay Home measures very strictly,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post. 

The government has said that starting Thursday, April 9, any group gathering in public will immediately be issued a written warning by enforcement officers. Consequently there will be a SGD 300 fine for a second offence and prosecution in court for a third offence. 

“We need everyone’s cooperation for these circuit breaker measures to be effective. There are still many people who are not taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. Some are even uncooperative, insisting on dining in at eating places, not maintaining a safe distance when queuing in markets, and gathering in parks to eat or exercise together,” said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Facebook.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat also posted on Facebook saying that while many Singaporeans "understand the situation" and have adjusted their daily routines "some are blatantly disregarding the measures".

The first two days of the circuit breaker saw 10,000 written advisories being issued to people flouting the rules. 

ESG, STB conduct over 10,000 enforcement checks

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that they conducted enforcement checks on the suspension of activities at workplace premises and safe distancing measures, for about 10,700 F&B, retail and tourism businesses across Singapore on April 7. 

10 businesses have been instructed to cease their operations, including TCM retail establishments, wellness and beauty product shops, money changers, mobile phone retail shops, consumer electronics retailers, kitchenware, and stationery shops – these had remained open despite providing non-essential services.

Additionally, verbal warnings were issued to some businesses with the prospect of fines and suspension of operations if these businesses continue to flout the rules, said an ESG and STB statement. 

In the ESG’s check of 9,750 F&B and retail establishments across 67 shopping malls and STB’s check on over 920 tourism-related establishments, common infractions found included a lack of queue markings and poor crowd management, especially during meal times.

“We take a serious view of any infringement of safe distancing measures and will not hesitate to take actions against non-compliant businesses. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to S$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. Subsequent offences may face a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both,” said the statement.