Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza buzzing as curbs are eased
Both malls close off entry several times as visitor numbers surge after weekend entry limits lifted
Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza shopping centres were buzzing for the first time in months yesterday after restrictions limiting entry to the two malls on weekends were lifted the day before.
The tills rang as workers on their day off, mainly from the Philippines and Myanmar, flocked to popular hangout spots to shop, eat and get their hair done.
"I'm tired but happy," said Ms Sanda Kyaw Naint, owner of Ye Yint Cafe in Peninsula Plaza.
The 51-year-old could hardly catch a break as she served, during breakfast and lunch hours, almost twice as many customers as she had the previous weekend.
Mr Bob Kok, 60, who owns a grocery store in Lucky Plaza, told The Straits Times that the entry restrictions imposed from Aug 29 last year made it worse for shop owners who were already struggling.
Under the restrictions, those whose identification numbers end in even digits could visit the two malls only on even-numbered dates, while those whose numbers end in odd digits could visit only on odd-numbered dates.
Mr Kok, who has been struggling to pay his rent, said: "It was a ghost town, even on Saturdays and Sundays. Today is very different."
But a surge of visitors to the two malls yesterday also reignited fears of the coronavirus spreading.
There were so many visitors to Lucky Plaza yesterday morning that the mall, which has a maximum occupancy of 6,445, had to close briefly.
When ST visited the mall at 11.20am, safe distancing ambassadors and safe management enforcement officers were dispersing crowds outside. Armed police were also present.
Inside the mall, the ambassadors and enforcement officers were on patrol, frequently reminding shoppers not to gather in groups.
In a circular issued last Friday to tenants, Lucky Plaza's management said its officers would be inspecting every unit and reminded operators to ensure strict compliance with safe management measures on their shop premises.
The Singapore Tourism Board and Enterprise Singapore had cited improvements such as reduced crowds and better management of queues and pedestrian traffic as reasons for lifting the restrictions. But they had also warned that the restrictions could be imposed again.
The agencies told ST that the mall operators deployed more manpower to deal with the larger crowds yesterday.
Entry to the malls was closed off several times during the morning and afternoon peak periods when the capacity limit in the malls was reached.
"Visitors are strongly advised not to visit these malls during peak hours or congregate outside the malls," the agencies said.