SINGAPORE – Long queues formed at Marsiling Community Club as national distribution of TraceTogether tokens resumed in limited fashion on Thursday (Oct 29).
Marsiling is the first community centre where tokens are available again after distribution was halted on Wednesday (Oct 28) by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO). The temporary suspension was to make way for a new mode of distribution where new collection venues will be opened one constituency at a time following reports of long queues at some community centres (CCs) last weekend.
There were already about 100 people in the queue when The Straits Times arrived at Marsiling Community Club at 9.45am. Crowds continued to pour in even at 11.30am.
Five collection counters were set up in a hall, with one set aside for the elderly and physically infirm. The waiting time for collection ranged between 30 minutes and an hour.
Several people were under the impression that they only had one day to collect the tokens.
“I came today because I read the (Token Go Where) website wrongly and thought the date listed was the only date,” said a resident who only wanted to be known as Madam Tan. “If I had known I might have come another day.”
Retiree Ismail Ibrahim, 57, waited for around 45 minutes to collect four tokens for himself and his family.
“Today is the first day (of collection) so people are going to come down,” said the Marsiling resident, who said he prefers the TraceTogether token to the app as he is trying to cut down his phone usage.
Retiree Velaitham Pillai, 78, also queued for 45 minutes. “I could have come on another day when there were not so many people but I just wanted to collect (the token) early,” he said.
The remaining 107 community centres in other constituencies will be progressively opened for token collection between this month and December. The schedule is available on the Token Go Where website.
Collection at all CCs will continue until the end of the year, and is not a one-day affair.
Residents have also been told that they should only be collecting tokens from the community centre of the constituency they live in.
This means that Marine Parade residents, for example, can only get their hands on a token on Dec 14, according to the full schedule on the Token Go Where website.
Token distribution initially kicked off in September, and had been expanded to 38 CCs before Tuesday’s move.
There was a surge in demand for the tokens after the Goverment announced last week that TraceTogether check-ins will be made compulsory at all public venues by end-December, including at restaurants, workplaces, schools and shopping malls.
Last Saturday (Oct 24), long queues formed at some of the 38 community centers distributing tokens, with people having to wait for about 45 minutes.