Singapore

Waterloo Street vendors to operate from designated lots from January

The 41 vendors in Waterloo Street have to operate from allocated spaces from Jan 4 as part of efforts to deal with crowding, obstruction

Flower vendors and fortune tellers with makeshift stalls near two popular temples in Waterloo Street will need a licence from next year to operate at designated lots, as the authorities move in to deal with crowding and obstruction.

From Jan 4, the 41 street vendors will have to progressively move into these allocated lots, which measure 2m by 1.5m.

This will ensure there is safe distancing between street vendors in the area, unobstructed fire engine access and give pedestrians more room to walk, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Singapore Food Agency and Urban Redevelopment Authority said in a joint statement yesterday.

"Currently, the pedestrian mall is often busy and filled with stall set-ups and discarded boxes that obstruct the pathways.

"These are not conducive to both the street vendors and visitors to the area, and are potential fire hazards," the agencies said.

By congregating in close proximity, the street vendors also pose public health and safety concerns in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, they added.

The vendors comprise 19 fortune tellers, 19 flower vendors, two reflexologists and one cobbler. The flower vendors will be allocated space closer to the temples, said the agencies.

For decades, vendors had been free to choose where to operate on the pedestrianised mall in front of the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple and Sri Krishnan Temple.

Besides the designated spots, going forward they will also need to obtain a Temporary Occupation Licence, which will cost $48.15 per month.

The agencies said those who face financial difficulties can approach the SLA for assistance. The vendors will have to start paying the licensing fee from June 2021.

All existing vendors will be granted a lot, which will be allocated by balloting.

SLA said the licence, which is renewable on a three-year basis subject to redevelopment plans, is not transferable, and the 41 vendors are not allowed to sublet their stalls. No new licence will be granted should an existing vendor retire.

The 41 vendors, who have on average been operating there for between 10 and 15 years, were informed of the changes on Thursday.

Flower vendor Catherine Teo, 65, whose family has been running a stall in the area since the 1960s, said: "The changes will make the area more attractive for tourists."

BUSINESS & FINANCE