Business plunges for money changers here
Money changers here are reeling from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Business has been down by about 60 per cent for all currencies, but the South Korean won and yuan have suffered the most.
The New Paper visited five money changers at Bishan on Monday evening and at Raffles Place yesterday.
While short queues formed at a few shops around noon at The Arcade in Raffles Place, money changers said it was a far cry from the normal crowded scene at lunchtime.
"It has completely stopped," said Mr Abdul Haleem, a managing partner of City Money Changers in The Arcade, about the sales in won during the last couple of days.
Another money changer at The Arcade said business in won has dropped by about 80 per cent, while others see just one customer a week for yuan.
A travel advisory issued by the Ministry of Health on Sunday against non-essential travel to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in South Korea has prompted many holidaymakers to cancel or postpone their trips to the country.
Mr Hussein Ahmed, who runs AR Money Exchange in Junction 8 in Bishan, said: "On a normal day, we close the shop between 9pm and 9.30pm.
"Since the virus struck, we close around 8pm on most days. People just stopped coming."
Precautionary measures taken by establishments housing some of these shops have also affected their business.
At The Arcade, linkways to the adjacent Clifford Centre were closed over two weeks ago, after an employee working in Clifford Centre tested positive for the virus on Feb 6.
The linkways were re-opened on Monday, a move that some tenants of The Arcade said came after feedback they submitted to the management about the adverse impact the closure had on their businesses.
Ms Khor, 25, a money changer for E-Globex Money Changer at The Arcade, said: "The closure affected us badly because our shop is at the end of the building.
"However, we understand why The Arcade's management had to take these steps to protect its tenants."
Mr Oli Mohamed, secretary of the Money Changers Association, said: "Initially, it was just the yuan (that saw a drop in sales). Now, the slowdown is fluid and it is happening across the board."
He said he has received numerous calls and e-mails from members requesting assistance in seeking reduced rentals.