SINGAPORE: As stricter safe distancing guidelines are rolled out in Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and town councils are putting in place more of such measures at markets.

In a press release on Wednesday (Apr 1), the agency said that queue markings to guide customers to maintain a safe distance will be put at 83 markets managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.

“While markets are a naturally ventilated environment where crowd interactions are fairly transient, patrons are still encouraged to maintain safe distancing, especially when taking turns to make their purchases,” NEA said.

Patrons are also advised to stand within the boxes marked to help minimise crowding at each stall at any point of time, the agency added.

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This latest measure follows similar efforts made by NEA over the past two weeks to mark out alternate seats at hawker centres with cooked food sections, as well as queue markings at popular stalls to facilitate safe distancing. 

NEA said that they have observed the average rate of patrons adhering to these markings has risen from about 15 to 20 per cent to about 60 per cent.

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR

NEA also urged members of the public to exercise socially responsible behaviour to protect their own well-being and others around them. 

Those who feel unwell or sick should avoid visiting markets or hawker centres, the agency said, reminding patrons to also observe good hygiene habits such as using a tissue when coughing or sneezing, binning all litter and washing hands regularly with soap.

NEA advised patrons to also note the following: 

  • Consider staggering purchases throughout the week, avoid visiting the markets on weekends when there are bigger crowds.
  • Refrain from bringing the elderly and vulnerable persons such as children to the markets. 
  • Avoid crowding around each stall and maintain a 1m separation when waiting to make your purchase. 
  • Minimise your time spent at the markets and leave once you have made your purchases. 

The agency will continue to monitor the situation closely and may implement further measures for crowd control.

“Patrons are strongly encouraged to make small adjustments to their routine, and to visit markets during weekdays or non-peak periods instead of planning their regular weekend visits,” NEA said.

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