Migrant workers flock to malls after restrictions lifted
Long queues outside Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza amid safe distancing measures
Crowds continued to flock to Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza yesterday, with long snaking queues seen outside both malls.
Within the malls, the situation was more manageable with enough space for shoppers to move around while observing social distancing.
When The Straits Times visited Peninsula Plaza around 4pm, a huge crowd was seen outside both entrances, with people standing shoulder to shoulder, jostling to get inside.
Shortly after, police officers arrived and turned away a large group of people. Security guards cordoned off the entrances and told people to return an hour later as there were too many people in the building.
Braving the hour-long queue was 37-year-old domestic worker Wim May and her group of friends.
She said: "It's usually crowded every weekend, but I want to buy my traditional food, so I have no choice. I would like to come every weekend, but I've cut down because I'm a little worried about the crowds."
Queues were also seen outside Lucky Plaza, with safe distancing officers keeping a close eye on the line of people entering the mall.
Shouts of "one line, one metre" rang out, and those who crossed the one-metre safe distancing mark were called out and reprimanded.
The authorities had, on April 10, lifted weekend entry restrictions on Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza, both popular with migrant workers here.
Under the restrictions, which had been in place since last August, entry to these malls on odd and even dates were based on the last digit of identification numbers.
Last Thursday, Lucky Plaza was added to Space Out, a website by the Urban Redevelopment Authority that allows people to check the real-time crowd situation at places they plan to visit before heading down. Peninsula Plaza is currently not listed on the website.
Launched in April last year with the aim of reducing overcrowding at public spaces, the website now has crowd-level data for 71 malls, up from 50 when it was first launched. Lucky Plaza was listed as "Not crowded" on the website when ST visited around 2.30pm.
Mr Daniel Wong, who sells phone accessories in the mall, said: "Before this, there would be small groups idling at this open space and chit-chatting, but now they will be chased away. It may not be good for business, but it's more spaced out now. Safety comes first."
But not everyone felt the same way, with some shopkeepers saying the measures were driving away customers.
Mr Gary Li, 33, a manager of a souvenir shop, preferred the odd-even entry system, which he said made it easier to manage crowds. "Now they may close off the mall whenever the crowds get too big, and people may not want to wait for the mall to reopen."