Temples and religious organisations close doors to the public
The popular Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street will not be open to the public from today, said its board of trustees in a notice put up on Wednesday.
This is the first time the temple is closing its doors, as it had remained open during the Sars outbreak in 2003.
It is among several temples and religious organisations that put up notices or placed print advertisements to announce similar moves.
The initiative comes after National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced in Parliament on Wednesday that all religious congregations and services are suspended until April 30.
Mr Wong, who co-chairs the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force, added that places of worship may open for private worship and essential rites, but group sizes should be kept to 10 persons or fewer at any one time.
In its statement, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple said that "the closure will last until situation improves".
"We apologise to all devotees for the inconvenience caused, and we wish you good health and blessings during this difficult period."
One of Singapore's largest monasteries, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill, will be closed from today until further notice. In a Facebook post yesterday, the monastery said that aside from those entering for essential services, visitors will not be allowed.
Others closing include the Tse Tho Aum Temple in Sin Ming Drive, Pu Ti Buddhist Temple in Punggol, Nam Hong Siang Theon temple in Yishun and the Blue Cross Charitable Institution in Pasir Panjang.
Yesterday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced that all government columbaria will close on weekends and public holidays until April 26. The announcement comes ahead of the Qing Ming Festival on April 4.
On Mondays, the government-managed columbaria at Choa Chu Kang, Mandai, and Yishun will open at 8am. They will close at 5.30pm on Fridays.
The three columbaria will remain open 24 hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The closure is to spread the crowd from weekends over five weekdays. The weekday crowd is only about 30 per cent of the weekend crowd for the public columbaria, said NEA.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NUR IFFAH MUHAMMAD ROSTAM