Singapore

Eligible dorm residents can visit recreation centres

Eligible foreign workers staying in dormitories will be allowed to visit recreation centres on their rest days at staggered times from Saturday to buy necessities, get a haircut and remit money home.

The centres have food and beverage outlets, minimarts and communal facilities. Workers can visit only a centre that has been assigned to their dorms.

There are eight such centres - in locations such as Kranji, Tuas, Woodlands and Kaki Bukit - that have been built over the years to serve dorm residents. On average, each centre can accommodate about 300 dorm residents with safe distancing measures in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Seven centres are operating, and the eighth will soon be operational, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.

The visits are part of measures to ease restrictions for migrant workers safely within and outside dorms.

The low infection rates in the community and dorms over a period of time also played a part in this decision, said MOM.

For many migrant workers, visiting the centres will mark their first time stepping out of their dorms since March.

Yesterday, Mr Christopher Koh, director of occupational safety and the health unit of MOM's workplace policy and strategy division, said the visits are "important for the mental well-being of our workers and to restore a sense of normalcy to their lives".

Speaking at the Tuas South Recreation Centre, he said staggering workers' visits helps spread out the visitor load at the centres.

For Bangladeshi mechanical engineer Sonjon Kumar Dey, 36, yesterday's visit to Tuas South Recreation Centre was a much-awaited one, as he has been cooped up in his dorm room since March.

He said: "We had a tough life the past eight months in the dorm. There was mental pressure (at the time) but here, we can refresh our minds and eat and talk to friends." - THE STRAITS TIMES

coronavirus