Thinner crowds at four wet markets as entry restrictions kick in, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Thinner crowds at four wet markets as entry restrictions kick in

This article is more than 12 months old

But some shoppers confused by new safety measure of 'odd and even entry' at markets

A new move to restrict entry to popular wet markets based on the last digit of shoppers' NRIC resulted in thinner crowds yesterday morning.

The measures at the markets in Chong Pang in Yishun, Jurong West Street 52, Marsiling Lane and Geylang Serai are part of tighter guidelines to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Other initiatives include encouraging people to go out alone to exercise or when running errands.

The National Environment Agency on Tuesday had announced that entry into the four wet markets will be based on the last digit of a shopper's NRIC number or foreign identification number.

Those with even numbers will be allowed entry only on even-numbered dates of the month.

Those with an odd number last digit can shop on odd-numbered dates.

The Straits Times understands that no one was turned away yesterday as it was the first day of the new guidelines.

When ST visited the markets yesterday, designated entry and exit points were open from as early as 6am. The market in Jurong West also had a temperature screening point near the entrance, workers providing hand sanitiser and signs informing shoppers that they will be denied entry if they were not wearing masks.

At least 10 to 20 staff members, including town council workers, were on site at each wet market to inform shoppers of the new rules as well as to manage the numbers.

Safe distancing enforcement officers and SG Clean ambassadors were also present, reminding shoppers to stand a metre apart while queueing to enter the market.

Apart from NRICs, shoppers were also allowed to present their Transitlink concession cards, work permits, PAssion cards with NRIC numbers or driver's licence.

Madam Poh, a 64-year-old retiree who arrived at the Jurong West market at around 8am, said: "The new measures are necessary, if not it will be crowded. Usually, I can't even walk through the market without bumping into others."

Some were confused about the new measure. Mr Chan Heng Luan, 70, a retiree who used to work in an electronics factory, turned up at the Chong Pang market though the last digit of his NRIC was an odd number.

"I thought since it was a Wednesday, an odd day of the week, I would be allowed in. But the staff told me they go by the date, not the day," he said.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in an interview over video conferencing platform Zoom that there was a marked improvement at the Geylang Serai market, where the crowd had shrunk to less than half.

The market was the worst performing one in terms of adhering to safe distancing rules, but with the new measures, Mr Masagos, also the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said: "... I will say this morning, when we started the odd and even entry, Geylang Serai market is one of the best performing. The number of people in the queue has reduced tremendously."