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Tekka market stalls going online to reduce crowds

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Six stalls will sell fresh produce over livestream on Facebook from noon tomorrow

A pilot to bring the wet market shopping experience online will be rolled out at one of Singapore's most famous markets tomorrow in a bid to reduce crowds and to make it easier for people to stay home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

For the first time, six stalls from Tekka Market in Little India will be selling their fresh produce over a livestream on Facebook.

At noon tomorrow, customers will be able to interact with the sellers and ask them more about their items in the comments section of the livestream. The groceries will be delivered.

The initiative, organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and creative agency BlkJ, aims to highlight how shop owners and customers can find new - and safer - ways of doing things during the circuit breaker period.

Depending on the response to the event, dubbed Tekka Online Market, the initiative could be expanded to include more stalls and other markets as well, IMDA told The Straits Times.

An IMDA spokesman noted that there were queues at wet markets even during the circuit breaker.

Last month, for example, it was announced that entry into four popular wet markets will be based on the last digit of a shopper's NRIC number or foreign identification number to limit the sizes of the crowds there.

The latest initiative aims to raise awareness on digital tools and methods to sell, buy and pay online, so people can stay safe and yet conduct daily activities during the circuit breaker period, the spokesman added.

"Why jalan jalan (a colloquialism for going out) for your kailan?" is a slogan from the upcoming initiative.

Ms Jane Lim, IMDA assistant chief executive, said: "We are happy (to work with partners) to help stallholders learn how to sell online and reach more customers, and encourage customers to buy and pay online.

"This is part of our continuing efforts to help our society and businesses go digital and find new opportunities in the new normal."

People can log on to facebook.com/TekkaOnlineMarket to take part in the event. Sales will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Customers can place their orders through the comments section of the Facebook Live video, confirm their details via Facebook messenger and make payment via PayNow, an instant funds transfer service offered by various banks.

Those who spend more than $20 will be eligible for free islandwide delivery and produce will be delivered to them within the day to ensure freshness.

Ms Rowena Bhagchandani, chief executive officer of creative agency BlkJ, said that some stall owners may be apprehensive about taking their businesses online.

"But through this pilot, we hope to inspire sellers not just from Tekka but also other wet markets, who have been adversely affected by the tightened social distancing measures, to try taking their businesses online," she said.