Haze hits open-air eateries, tourist attractions

Owners of Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Ms Harlina Haron (right) and Ms Shima Salim observed that the haze has mauled outdoor eateries, with stallholders pointing out that the number of customers has dwindled in the recent weeks.
Owners of Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Ms Harlina Haron (right) and Ms Shima Salim observed that the haze has mauled outdoor eateries, with stallholders pointing out that the number of customers has dwindled in the recent weeks.PHOTO: MOHD TAUFIK A KADER

A number of events this weekend have also been cancelled or postponed as a precaution

Business at open-air hawker centres and al fresco restaurants has dipped as customers hide indoors to avoid the haze.

Several tourist attractions were also closed in the past two days, as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) crossed over to hazardous levels.

Despite conditions improving yesterday, a number of events today and tomorrow have been cancelled or postponed as a precaution.

Madam Yong Fong, 65, owner of Bugis Street Chuen Chuen Chicken Rice at Balestier Market, said her takings have fallen by 20 per cent to 30 per cent since the haze hit two weeks ago. Customers who come mostly order takeaways, she said.

Over at Amoy Street Food Centre, Mr Kiang Choon Tong, 68, owner of Soon Heng Pork and Fish Porridge, said even his regular customers are staying away.

"It's been very difficult. First there was the ban on yusheng (raw fish), then the haze now," he said.

At L'Angelus French Restaurant in Club Street, the number of walk-in diners has dwindled, said general manager David Lim. "No one sits at the outdoor seats. On Thursday night, the whole street was like a ghost town," he said.

Mr Katsumi Mizutani, owner of the L'Opera group of restaurants, said sales at his al fresco restaurants in Boat Quay and Telok Ayer fell by at least a quarter but more people showed up at Pizzeria L'Operetta, which is fully indoors.

Meanwhile, Sentosa closed its Port of Lost Wonder attraction and suspended its tours of Fort Siloso yesterday. Singapore Ducktours, which has seen ticket sales plunge by 20 per cent, cancelled three of its open-top bus tours this week.

Events this weekend that have been cancelled owing to the haze include two Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations in Sembawang and Woodlands organised by the People's Association, and an annual cycling road race by organiser CycoSports.

The National Heritage Board has cancelled more than five events, including this afternoon's snowskin mooncake workshop at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Two other events today have been postponed - the Peranakan Museum's Secret Party and the National Museum of Singapore's Historia SG: The Gardens in a Garden City lecture.

Meanwhile, television customers of StarHub can watch over 140 channels for free this weekend, including HBO and Discovery Channel, the telco announced yesterday. The free preview, which began at 5pm yesterday, ends at 9am on Monday.

•Additional reporting by

Jasmine Osada and Gurveen Kaur

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Haze hits open-air eateries, tourist attractions'. Print Edition | Subscribe