Rules on home bakers may be eased if community transmissions dip, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Rules on home bakers may be eased if community transmissions dip

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Minister for National Development says it will depend on whether community transmission numbers dip

The rules disallowing home-based bakers from operating during the coronavirus circuit breaker may be eased if community transmission numbers are brought down, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

Speaking at a multi-ministry taskforce press conference yesterday, he said: "Current rules do not allow for home-based F&B, but if and when community numbers do continue to come down... we may very well relax some of the restrictions, and at that time we will let Singaporeans know when this or any other activities that we think can start will be able to resume."

He added: "There will be some sacrifices - (it's) not easy, but we call on everyone to hunker down until May 4 at least."

Home-based businesses can operate online only if the business owner and staff do not leave their respective homes, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Housing Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority in a joint statement yesterday.

The business should also not involve any visitors, customers or third-party delivery services coming to the premises to collect or deliver goods. This means that home-based bakers and cooks have to cease business operations.

The authorities said first-time offenders will be fined $1,000, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court.

Mrs Lydia Chan, 33, said she refunded over $500 to customers - around half of her monthly income from selling stuffed Nutella donuts under her brand Eshal's Tart, which she runs full time.

"We were already doing contactless delivery before this, where I leave the items on the bench outside our flat, so it's a little disappointing that I have to stop even though I understand why," said the mother-of-two.

Ms Azila Mdyasin, 25, who runs online cookie business Koo-Eh Legacy, has had to tell all her customers who made prepaid orders - for about 50 bottles of cookies in total - that she will deliver them only after the measures are lifted.


She learned of the rules on Saturday after reading Malay-language paper Berita Harian's report, which noted that home bakers cannot operate if they involve delivery services. She then called HDB yesterday morning to get confirmation.

Labour MP Zainal Sapari said: "Such businesses are quite common in the Malay-Muslim community, especially in the month of Ramadan. Given the current circuit breaker measures and the closure of Ramadan bazaar, many have moved into home-based businesses as a means to earn supplementary income or to earn a livelihood since their regular jobs have been affected."

A petition on calling for small home-based F&B businesses to be allowed to operate in compliance with circuit breaker rules garnered more than 65,000 signatures as of yesterday evening.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in a Facebook post yesterday that it was "irresponsible" to incite home-based F&B business owners to pressure the Government into making exceptions for them.

He did not single out anyone in his Facebook post.