8 Places In Singapore That Have Already Made Social Distancing The New Normal

Social distancing in Singapore

Images adapted from: @hrdbacot

Under Singapore’s latest regulations to keep us safe from COVID-19, we’re all encouraged to be at least 1M apart from each other at all times. Talk about having personal space. 

It’s definitely a big change from the bustling streets and malls most of us are used to, but luckily many places are helping us along. From using robots to having funky elevator markings, here are 8 places in Singapore that have already made social distancing the new normal. 

For more on COVID-19:

1. Harbourfront Centre Towers

Image credit: Singapore Atrium Sale

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that it’s impossible for people to be 1M apart in a cramped elevator – so the folks at Harbourfront Towers adopted a creative solution. They’ve put stickers on the floor to indicate where passengers should stand, restricting capacity to 4 people per elevator ride.

Seems like it requires even more creativity to fit more than 4 people in a lift. Take this lift for example, which can fit 9.

Image credit: @hrdbacot

The elevator markings remind us of a Dance Dance Revolution game mat
Image credit: @tknibbs

It looks like a game of Dance Dance Revolution, but the markings pasted in the lift actually demarcate the position each passenger should take. What you end up with is an impeccable formation that looks something like this: 

Image credit: @hrdbacot

Everyone’s facing away from each other, so that seems to solve the problem of possible transmission. It might create a new problem though – how will people know if they’ve reached their floor? We’d like to see some footage of people exiting this lift, please. 

2. NUS Business School

Finals season is approaching, and if you know Singaporean students, you’ll know that nothing on earth will stop students from studying. Not even a global pandemic. 

Image credit: @L1M_EAGN

To make sure groups stay apart, coloured boxes have been plastered around study tables. It keeps people a safe distance away from each other, so the virus doesn’t go round that easily. If anything, I guess we can say thinking outside the box isn’t encouraged this time round.

3. RT and IPPT in SAF

Image credit: The Singapore Army

Retraining (RT) and the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) are integral parts of the army. It’s a huge undertaking that involves just about every male in Singapore, so cancelling it because of COVID-19 might just be out of the question. 

Image credit: The Singapore Army

Plans are being made to make things even safer in the long term, but in the meantime, training goes on – just with social distancing measures. Sitting 1M apart? Check. Stretching 1M apart? Check. Runs and exercises are all conducted with social distancing in mind. 

Image credit: The Singapore Army

Even equipment is now thoroughly disinfected on a per-use basis, with everyone doing their fair share. It’s not every day you get to see colonels on their hands and knees scrubbing away, so I say enjoy it while it lasts. 

4. KFC

Image credit: KFC Singapore

Minimising physical contact is on the menu at KFC, where you can now order online – even if you’re in the store. That means no more queuing, making contact with the cashier or touching anything other than your food. 

Screengrab of the online ordering service
Image adapted from: KFC

To make an order, you’ll have to add your mobile number, email address and use either a credit card or DBS PayLah! to pay digitally. You can also order takeaway or delivery if you don’t want to step out of the safety of your home. With this system in place, you’ll get your fingers dirty from the fried chicken, but none of the COVID-19 virus.

5. Haidilao

Known for its snaking long queues, Haidilao Singapore has stepped up to ensure that diners are safe. They’ve restricted capacity and are making sure people sit apart in the restaurant and in waiting areas.

Image credit: @shanghaieye

Over in China, Haidilao restaurants are taking one step further to minimise contact. Meet the new robot waiters, who serve food so human waiters won’t have to. Currently, in Singapore, this tech is only available at the Marina Square outlet, so head there for the safest Haidilao fix. 


Image credit: NTUC Fairprice

The panic-buying saga certainly isn’t one of Singapore’s finest moments, and the empty shelves showed us that we have to look out for vulnerable groups now more than ever. In light of that, NTUC Fairprice is setting aside an hour on Monday mornings as a priority shopping hour

Only the elderly, persons with disabilities and pregnant women are allowed to enter the store during this hour. It lowers their risk of exposure and makes sure they get whatever groceries they need. 

Image credit: @ayoitsnabs

For the rest of us, we’ve all been trained to stand behind the yellow line, but it didn’t apply outside of train and bus stations until now. More social distancing measures in NTUC include markers that make sure people stand 1M apart in queues. 

7. KOI Thé Cafe

Image credit: Koi Thé Singapore

We Singaporeans take our bubble tea seriously. Even with COVID-19 happening, many bubble tea chains remain open, albeit with more precautions. For one, Koi exclusively relies on self-checkout counters where they can to minimise contact. These machines are wiped down more frequently too. 

Image credit: Koi Thé Singapore

Where machines are not available, the floor has been demarcated to spread out queues. Look out for these the next time you visit – and also leave the reusable cup at home. Koi is no longer accepting them during this period for everyone’s protection. 

8. ActiveSG sports facilities

Image credit: myActiveSG

Staying home to work out is probably the safest option, but sometimes you’ve just got to sweat it out at the gym. Gyms are still open, but bear in mind the minimum 1M distance to keep from fellow fitspos. For now, only alternate machines, running lanes and sports courts can be used. 

Image credit: @faiz.aman

Pools and studios also remain open with limited capacity and added cleaning measures. Remember to book your classes online in advance as less than 10 participants are allowed! Users are encouraged to bring their own mat and equipment – take it as the perfect chance to show off your fitness collection. 

Read the full ActiveSG advisory here

COVID-19 social distancing measures

As much as we’re all trying to retain a sense of normalcy, social distancing measures have to be taken for everyone’s safety. With adaptations like contactless ordering of food and the quick designing of floor spaces, we’re impressed by how quickly these places have taken the new requirements in their stride. Follow these measures, stay healthy and soon social distancing will be a thing no more.

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Jacinth Chia

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