This safe distancing ambassador uses tact to avoid disputes
When Mr Adrian Goh, 42, arrives at a coffee shop, he will find stallholders masked up.
Those queueing up for food will also be spaced out neatly, a metre apart.
Mr Goh, who has worked in the hotel industry for 12 years, is now a safe distancing ambassador - one of about 3,000 employed islandwide. These ambassadors - usually wearing red - have the unenviable task of making sure people obey the prevailing Covid-19 regulations.
They cannot issue fines but take on a role similar to that of school prefects. Their presence reminds people that their behaviour is being monitored and they cannot flout the rules.
Previously ensconced in his office as assistant director of sales and marketing at Hotel Grand Pacific in Bugis, Mr Goh now walks under the scorching sun from 7am to 3pm, or from 12.30pm to 9pm.
The sudden downturn in global tourism last year led to about 10 of the hotel's employees - including chefs - seconded out as safe distancing ambassadors.
"The hotel sees it as a way to save as many jobs as possible instead of laying people off.
"It needed us to do it to supplement our wages," said Mr Goh, whose income has been shaved by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent.
"Sometimes, people think we work for the Government and that we issue fines... They will question why we are making life difficult when business is already so bad," said Mr Goh.
"Our role is a purely advisory one. I try to let them know I'm also struggling and we are in the same boat.
"If everyone follows the rules, things can go back to normal and I can go back to the hotel too."
Mr Goh added: "Sometimes, we also need to know when to back off. Most ugly incidents can be avoided if handled in a tactful way. If we take it upon ourselves to insist people behave in a certain way, it will rub them up the wrong way."
The official advice that safe distancing ambassadors get in their training is to make a report to the National Environment Agency or Singapore Food Agency if people are uncooperative.
Mr Goh lives with his elderly parents and grandmother. To minimise the risk of transmission in case he is exposed to the coronavirus, he takes a shower once he gets home.
His key concern is whether the hotel industry will survive. "We are all living month by month. Let's hope it will return to normal soon."