Lest you’re unaware, Orchard Road was supposed to go smoke-free this 1 July, much to the smokers’ chagrin ( I would imagine).
But it seems that the ban has been postponed, with an all-new scheduled date of end 2018.
Meanwhile smokers be like…
…and non-smokers be like…
According to our friendly local newspaper The Straits Times, it’s because stakeholders in business and food establishments in Orchard Road have given feedback and are requesting for more time to prepare.
Following the public smoking ban announcement, smokers were told that they could only light up in designated smoking areas in the vicinity, something businesses and food establishments have had to identify and set up.
And although the establishments had one whole year to prep everything, it seems that it’s not enough, and as such the ban has been extended by six months.
I didn’t say it; Spongebob did.
“Nonetheless, as some businesses have given feedback that they need more time to make the necessary preparations, NEA has decided to extend the implementation date by about six months to the end of 2018,” The National Environment Agency said.
After which, however, no new smoking corners will be approved for subsequent licensees of the same premises.
So far, around 40 designated smoking areas have been organised, with a few public ones at Orchard Towers, Far East Plaza, The Heeren, Cuppage Terrace and behind Somerset MRT station.
Supportive of the initiative
Since the announcement last year, NEA has been routinely sounding out stakeholders, including the Orchard Road Business Association.
And according to the agency, majority of stakeholders in Orchard Road have expressed support for the new decision.
Yet you can’t help but wonder otherwise, given that…
They can’t find a single spot within the ‘short’ span of one year.
Orchard Road isn’t the only affected party
From 1 Oct 2017 onward, it was deemed illegal to smoke in outdoor areas of universities, private education institutions and in cars from private-hire companies like Grab and Uber (RIP, Uber).
Additionally, smoking isn’t permitted within a five-metre radius of educational institutions like childcare centers, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, madrasahs, junior colleges, polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education campuses.
Yishun, in particular, was aggressive about it with two whole areas declared smoke-free:
- Lower Seletar Reservoir Park along Yishun Avenue 1
- Yishun Park Neighbourhood 8
In fact, Nee Soon South, a Yishun estate of 50,000 is set to be Singapore’s first non-smoking constituency, with all its public areas smoke-free. However, the initiative is expected to take some time to finish, with its first steps taken by end 2017.
But from the looks of it, it might not just be Yishun, but the entirety of Singapore that might be enveloped by this latest non-smoking trend.
Which I don’t mind one bit, to be honest. Not at all.
Back to Orchard Road
Though with all respects, I’m pretty sure majority of the non-smokers out there will be appreciating this latest development, me included. After all…
I would prefer my Orchard Road walks without a hint of second hand smoke, thanks.
Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!
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