Geylang market still busy, but it is a little quiet elsewhere
The Geylang Serai Malay Market was a hive of activity when The New Paper visited just after lunchtime yesterday, hours before the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced tighter measures to manage access to such locations.
While the fish and seafood stalls were closed, the butchers and poultry stalls were busy, as Muslim shoppers prepared for Hari Raya Haji tomorrow.
The Geylang market was among 16 markets and food centres around Singapore that had confirmed Covid-19 cases among fishmongers, who were likely to have been infected through contact with stallholders at Jurong Fishery Port.
To prevent further spread of the virus, stallholders selling fresh fish and seafood at markets managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or operators appointed by the agency cannot resume business until they obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction test result, NEA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a joint statement yesterday.
Stallholders who are not selling fresh fish or seafood can continue to operate, and MOH is working with NEA to conduct testing for all stallholders and stall assistants at market stalls and cooked food stalls in hawker centres and markets managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.
While the market at Geylang drew a number of shoppers, stall owners at Redhill Market and Whampoa Wet Market - among the 16 with positive cases - said takings had dipped yesterday, and they are bracing themselves for a bigger hit in the next few days.
Last night, MOH said interim fencing will be put up at the markets by NEA and town councils, and mandatory SafeEntry check-in requirements will be enforced to better enable contact tracing and ring-fence cases.
Mr Tan Thian Hoa, 63, who owns a poultry stall at Redhill Market, told TNP: "Business has been bad since (the Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre cluster), and now this happens. I am sure it will be worse for us next week."
While it is not mandatory for him to get tested, Mr Tan, who is fully vaccinated, will go for a test.
"It is for peace of mind," he said.
Madam Chen Feng, 58, who sells pork at Whampoa Wet Market, is worried after hearing of the cases. But she said: "Even though there is less business, customers are still coming, so I will keep the stall open. Luckily I am fully vaccinated."
Madam Airon Bee, who visits Geylang Serai Malay Market three times a week to buy ingredients for her home-based food business, has avoided the market in the early morning when it is more crowded.
"I place my orders with vendors in advance, so I can pick up and leave quickly," the 45-year-old said.
However, with fish and seafood stalls closed right now, her business will be affected. "I will purchase fish and seafood from the supermarket for self-consumption, but it is too expensive to sell."
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES