All customers visiting bank retail branches must now wear face masks to be allowed to enter, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has announced.

As part of additional measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, customers are also urged to wear a face mask when queuing up to use even ATMs located outside of banks.

“With immediate effect, all customers visiting bank branches must wear a face mask to safeguard their own health and well-being, and that of other customers and staff working at these premises,” ABS said in a statement.

“Those not wearing a face mask would be refused entry.”

The association, which has 154 members comprising local and foreign banks, also advised customers to avoid going to branches by using online or mobile banking to access banking services.

“Unless absolutely necessary, customers should refrain from going to the branches.”

Stepping up crowd management, disinfection

For customers who deem it unavoidable to visit bank branches, banks here have put in place crowd control measures to enforce strict safe distancing. These include queue markings and contact tracing.

Banks have also stepped up efforts to clean and disinfect branches and ATMs.

Mask wearing is already compulsory for all customers visiting wet markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and shopping. Those additional measures were announced last week by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

The association said that the banking industry would continue to support customers’ needs even as some retail branches remain closed from April 9 to May 4 due to low footfall during the Covid-19 “circuit breaker period”.

Handling refusal to comply

Singapore has closed all non-essential businesses and introduced strict measures as part of a “circuit breaker” period to stem the spread of COVID-19, with fines issued for safe distancing offences.

Earlier this week a 55-year-old man was arrested for allegedly slapping a female petrol station attendant after refusing to heed her advice to wear a mask before entering the store.

Police, who said they consider the incident a case of voluntarily causing hurt, said they are currently investigating the matter.