It is indeed strange time that we are living in. It feels like a zombie apocalypse has happened on a movie set – there really are very few people out and about.
Singapore’s Social Distancing
Now I know that we are extremely fortunate in Singapore to have had tough measures imposed from 3 days after the virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, which means that we are not (yet) in complete lockdown. We still have our liberty and social distancing is strictly observed and controlled. It is now commonplace to have a metre or two between you and the next person in the queue and at restaurant , cafes, hawker tables, benches etc. It has become part of the new normal in our lives.
It’s Easter Holidays!
Easter holidays have now started for my daughter’s school and we would usually have taken the opportunity to go on holiday at this time. However, with the recent move we had not planned one, instead hoping for a last minute weekend away somewhere. Obviously those plans are shelved as the borders are effectively closed.
So keeping a teenager away from a gadget for a few hours a day has become a challenge. Yesterday she asked to go to Universal Studios (we’re annual pass holders – makes it SO much cheaper!) and I leapt at the chance to get her out of the house for some exercise. It was a hot day but nevertheless it was a good opportunity to get out.
We would normally go on the MRT and get the cable car as it’s a fun way to get there but we let our annual Fabre Pass lapse recently (due to lack of visitors!). So we took a cab instead. It’s free to enter Sentosa at the moment and the monorail is also free (which we took on the way back) so it’s a good time to go. Now I don’t want a tonne of abuse about being socially irresponsible at this time – the place is empty and social distancing is really easy and no effort at all.
At Universal Studios
Arriving at Universal we had to scan the QR code and fill in our details and the usual declarations that we hadn’t travelled anywhere and we had none of the symptoms. This was then checked at security as well as the temperature body scan and then we were free to proceed to the turnstiles. All usual new normal procedures for going anywhere at the moment.
The lack of a queue and people at the turnstiles should have been an indication of how many people were going to be inside. Indeed, I think everyone we saw near the turnstiles probably was the entirety of people in the park that day. Due to the strict social distancing measure all the shows and meet and greets and street performances had been cancelled, obviously. All but one of the rides were open (the Jurassic Park Rapids being closed for maintenance) and the rock climbing was also closed (probably because they don’t fancy climbing up to disinfect the rock face after every ascent!). All the restaurants were open and totally empty. We did see some other people at lunchtime, but not many. Social distancing at tables really was not a problem.
We walked around the entire park and went on all the rides we wouldn’t usually go on, due to huge queues, first and then went back around to other rides. Walking around the park was quick as we weren’t dodging a ton of people. Rides were quick because they were no queues and most of the time we were the only people on the rides. The staff treated us like personal friends welcoming us onto each ride and happy to see someone! It was wonderful but really really weird and eerie. Even with the usual music blaring away it felt odd as there was no one around to appreciate it and the lack of crowds made the music louder too.
We did go to Universal with some friends when Covid-19 first broke out and the shows etc were still on. We thought it was quiet then and joked that it set a record for others to beat on how quick you could go on every ride and see every show at Universal (about 3.5 hours if I recall correctly). Well, I know there were no shows etc but we did go on everything, have a coffee and some lunch in under two hours. It really was like having the whole park to ourselves. We did see other people from a distance and on one or two rides there were other people, but it was rare. We had a thoroughly enjoyable morning.
Disinfecting and social distancing
For those concerned about the spread of the virus at Universal, this is what we witnessed. Every ride is disinfected after every time it’s been round. The crew spray and wipe each seat, handle, buckle, harness etc you name it, it was sprayed and wiped immediately after we left the seat. When other people joined a ride, seating was in alternate rows. Queue lines were marked in yellow tape in boxes a metre apart to ensure that if there was a queue, social distancing was observed. This was the same in cafes, kiosks and restaurants. Of course, there was also the usual temperature screening and declarations on the way in. It looks as though they really have done all they can to ensure visitors safety. The park is also very very quiet so it is easy to social distance.