Haze a dampener for business but toll minimal so far

South Coast at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands on Sept 10, 2015.
South Coast at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands on Sept 10, 2015. NP PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

The return of the annual haze has so far taken only a minimal toll on business here, though some outdoor tourism outfits are suffering.

Iconic venues such as the Singapore Flyer were noticeably quieter this weekend as the Singapore skyline remained for the most part shrouded in haze.

"Our sales from walk-ins have been most negatively affected by the haze," said Ms Veronique Ye, director of marketing and sales at the Singapore Flyer. "Until now, we have not received any cancellation of flights from tour groups, (but) the haze situation is quite unpredictable, so we do allow passengers to reschedule their flights."

The haze has also been a dampener for Singapore's many rooftop bars and alfresco eateries as more customers opt to stay indoors. But Ms Low Seow Yee, music and marketing manager at Timbre, which owns several alfresco dining establishments, remains upbeat.

"Given that the haze situation has not been as bad as last year, customers are still coming out to dine at our venues and attend gigs," she said. She noted that it is only the start of the haze season, but so far the group has not seen a marked increase in cancellations.

Most firms have come to accept the haze as an annual phenomenon, to one degree or another, and, with the proper protocols in place, they can carry on with business as usual.

Work has not stopped at the construction sites of developer Koh Brothers, said group public relations manager David Tay. He said the firm had established a haze management system two years back, when Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) levels rocketed to about 400.

As at 6pm yesterday, the 24-hour PSI was between 119 and 147. The unhealthy range is 101 to 200.

Spokesmen for rigbuilders Keppel Corporation and Sembcorp Marine said operations at their shipyards have yet to be affected as the firms have laid out guidelines on the measures to take according to the PSI level. Some 14,000 of Keppel's staff work at its yards, with a significant number involved in operations outdoors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2015, with the headline 'Haze a dampener for business but toll minimal so far'. Print Edition | Subscribe