SINGAPORE - Hawker centre and market stallholders bearing the brunt of tightened Covid-19 restrictions will receive a one-off cash assistance of $500 per stallholder, as part of relief measures announced by the Ministry of Finance on Friday (July 23).
The new Market and Hawker Centre Relief Fund will be made available to all individual cooked food and market stallholders at hawker centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and NEA-appointed operators.
The move comes after eateries were barred from letting patrons dine in from Thursday to Aug 18 in an effort to curb Covid-19 infections.
The cash assistance is in addition to ongoing, previously announced subsidies that are meant to take the financial pressure off stallholders. These include one month of rental waivers and one month of subsidised fees for table cleaning and centralised dishwashing services.
In total, stallholders have been given eight months of rental waivers, and six months of subsidies for table cleaning and centralised dishwashing services since last year.
NEA is expected to announce more details.
Food and beverage (F&B) businesses that have to pivot back to deliveries will also get assistance in the form of subsidised delivery costs under Enterprise Singapore's (ESG) Food Delivery Booster Package.
The package, which initially ran from May 16 to July 15, will be reintroduced under phase two (heightened alert), from Thursday to Aug 18.
ESG will provide funding for 5 percentage points of the commission cost charged by food delivery platforms, as well as 20 per cent funding of delivery costs for those who use third-party logistics partners.
Both Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Amy Khor, and Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Ms Grace Fu weighed in on the latest measures for hawker and market stallholders in Facebook posts on Friday.
Ms Fu said: "We are committed to help stallholders who have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 and the fall in footfall."
They noted that as more Covid-19 cases have been linked to markets and hawker centres, with some closed for deep cleaning, it has been a very challenging time for stallholders and workers.
"Our markets and hawker centres are places with higher risks of transmission, and frequently visited by members of the public, including our seniors," wrote Ms Fu.
Hence, safe management measures and SafeEntry check-in at markets and hawker centres are being enhanced to facilitate better contact tracing, she added.
Currently, visitors to both are required to check in with their TraceTogether app or token.
Dr Khor also highlighted that the Ministry of Health, working with NEA, is conducting Covid-19 testing for all stallholders and stall assistants of market stalls and cooked food stalls at hawker centres and markets managed by NEA and NEA-appointed operators to uncover cases.
They both stressed the importance of taking safety management measures seriously while visiting markets and hawker centres for takeaways.
"Each of us can do our part to support our hawkers during this trying time. One way is to support them through food delivery apps," added Dr Khor.
The latest slew of measures is part of a new support package that will cost the Government $1.1 billion.
They also come ahead of the next Parliament sitting on Monday.