The festival is observed by many to pay their respects to their ancestors, and they would often do so by cleaning and sweeping their grave, as well as offering them food.
But because of the COVID-19 situation, the columbaria will only be opened on the weekdays so as to ensure that not too many people are visiting the building at once. After all, a mass gathering during this critical period poses a threat to everyone’s health and safety.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also put out an advisory for all those who are still going to pay their respects at the columbaria despite the worsening COVID-19 situation.
Those who choose to visit the columbaria on weekdays can take note of the operating hours of government-run columbaria (Choa Chu Kang, Mandai, and Yishun Columbarium) below:
Monday: Opens at 8.30am
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 24 hours
Friday: Closes at 5.30pm
The 24-hour opening hours will be extended until 24 April 2020, and many other private columbaria have taken similar measures.
This is to more evenly spread out the crowd size over the five weekdays instead of cramming big crowds in just two weekend days.
Yes, it’s just like flattening the curve.
In case you wanted a comparison, NEA said that “the weekday crowd is only about 30% that of the weekend crowd”.
Be Socially Responsible
Another thing to take note of is to be socially responsible so that we do not put ourselves or others at risk of infection.
If you are feeling unwell, please do not go to the columbaria. Instead, seek immediate medical attention and isolate yourself at home. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
After all, it just takes one symptomatic person to turn a venue into another cluster of infections.
If you’re intending to visit, please make sure that you:
- limit family size to no more than four persons;
- do not bring elderly family members and young children;
- do not prolong your stay in the facilities;
- avoid crowding around the prayer and burning areas in the columbaria (NEA will not hesitate to block off these areas if people are found to not comply with the restrictions);
- keep a safe distance from other visitors of at least 1m
NEA officers will be there to monitor the situation and they may temporarily stop you from entering the columbarium building if they deem it to be unsafe for you to enter, or if they believe there is a need for crowd control.
Sanitisation of Facilities
Hand sanitisers are available at the lift lobbies so you can sanitise your hand to ensure proper hygiene is maintained.
Tables for prayers will also be spaced out, and cleaning attendants will be increasing the number of times that they wipe down common contact surfaces.
If you are visiting the columbaria, please observe good hygiene habits by either binning your litter or keeping shared spaces clean.
Remember, a small action goes a long way.
While the government is doing whatever they can to curb the spread of COVID-19, we, too, must do our part in being socially responsible. After all, it takes two hands to clap.
Let’s all strive to stay safe, everyone.