Four popular wet markets see brisk business after curbs eased

There was brisk business at wet markets on the first day of entry restrictions at four popular markets being lifted. Customers flocked back to buy fresh produce but took care to maintain social distancing.
Chong Pang Market at around 10am yesterday. It is one of four markets that had alternate-day entry restrictions on weekdays lifted yesterday, following a noticeable reduction in queues. But the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and social distanci
Chong Pang Market at around 10am yesterday. It is one of four markets that had alternate-day entry restrictions on weekdays lifted yesterday, following a noticeable reduction in queues. But the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and social distancing guidelines will remain.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Chong Pang Market at around 10am yesterday. It is one of four markets that had alternate-day entry restrictions on weekdays lifted yesterday, following a noticeable reduction in queues. But the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and social distanci
Chong Pang Market at around 10am yesterday. It is one of four markets that had alternate-day entry restrictions on weekdays lifted yesterday, following a noticeable reduction in queues. But the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and social distancing guidelines will remain. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Customers express relief at being able to shop at these places on any weekday now

Business was brisk at four popular wet markets on the first day of entry restrictions being lifted.

As customers flocked back to their neighbourhood marketplaces to buy fresh produce, they still took care to maintain social distancing.

Entry to these four markets in Geylang, Yishun, Marsiling and Jurong had been restricted since April 22, with alternate-day entry allowed to people based on the last digit of their identity card number.

One of the visitors yesterday was private tutor Amanda Wong Su-Lyn, 29, who was at the wet market in Yishun with her mother, who is in her 60s.

"I was expecting there to be huge crowds, but there weren't - I think people have gotten used to timing their visits and are keeping away when they see too many people entering the market," Ms Wong said.

Yesterday, entry restrictions on weekdays were lifted, following a noticeable reduction in weekday queues. The four wet markets are Geylang Serai Market, Chong Pang Market at Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road, the market at Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane and the one at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.

But the restrictions will remain in place on weekends, and other measures such as the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and social distancing guidelines, like keeping 1m away from other patrons, will continue.

Ms Wong was also among those who were relieved that these restrictions have been lifted, so she can visit the wet market on weekdays whenever she likes.

"Sometimes you might run out of that one ingredient that you want at home. We've gotten used to going to FairPrice or other supermarkets, but visiting the wet market is a different experience altogether," she said.

The Straits Times visited Chong Pang Market yesterday morning, and found a steady stream of people entering the market despite the drizzle, but crowd control was manageable, and entry was orderly.

"I feel relieved that we are allowed to enter the market on any weekday. Say, if something's not in the kitchen, I used to have to plan way in advance just in case I couldn't enter the market on that day due to restrictions," said retiree Aminah Osman.

 
 
 
 

Said housewife Gertrude Tan: "I have to drive here all the way from Woodlands, so previously, I'd need to plan in advance, and look out for 'odd days' before driving in or I wouldn't be able to enter the market. With the restrictions lifted, it'll be more convenient."

But some stallholders were worried that the restrictions might have caused a permanent dent in the market's crowds - and their business.

"It's quite empty still, maybe it's because this is just the first day. So maybe it's unpredictable - maybe tomorrow, there'll be more people," said Chong Pang Market butcher Jiang Yi.

"Because of IC restrictions, there have been a lot of people that stopped coming to the market entirely; they'd rather go to FairPrice."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2020, with the headline 'Four popular wet markets see brisk business after curbs eased'. Print Edition | Subscribe