Over 30 malls in S'pore set up designated eating areas, extend grace period at carparks

Essential workers having lunch at a designated area at Food Junction, Lot One Shoppers' Mall on May 20, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - More than 30 malls have set up designated eating areas for essential staff or extended the grace period at their carparks.

This eases the challenges frontline workers face, such as the dining-in ban and the surge in takeaway orders as more people stay home during this period.

Seven mall operators told The Straits Times they have set aside food courts and public spaces with safe management measures in place.

CapitaLand, the largest operator here with 19 malls, said it has designated dining areas at 13 of its malls, including Lot One Shoppers' Mall, Plaza Singapura and Raffles City Singapore.

This allows retail staff in the malls, food delivery riders and safe distancing ambassadors to have their meals in a safe and comfortable environment said CapitaLand.

Only one diner is allowed per table and the tables are spaced out at least 1m in accordance with safe distancing guidelines.

Mr Desmond Ong, 20, a part-time Foodpanda rider, welcomed the malls' gesture.

He said: "I would normally find a small corner at the void deck but now I can eat without being worried a safe distancing ambassador will stop me."

Frasers Property Retail, which runs 14 malls, will also allow its mall staff, delivery riders and safe distancing ambassadors to have their meals in food courts and public spaces at malls such as Causeway Point and Waterway Point.

Similar arrangements are in place at Suntec City, City Square Mall, Jurong Point, AMK Hub and Thomson Plaza.

Some of the 17 malls managed by Far East Organization will also have those designated eating areas.

Community centres island-wide have also opened their function rooms and sports halls so that essential workers can have their meals.

Meanwhile, the National Taxi Association (NTA) and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) have called on building management owners to extend carpark grace periods to help drivers delivering food and parcels.

Most of the mall operators The Straits Times spoke to have done so.

Another Foodpanda rider, Mr Danny Mak, 52, said a longer grace period was necessary with more food delivery orders coming in.

He said: "You have to collect food from different restaurants and take the lift up and down which takes time."

From Sunday (May 23), delivery drivers will also have longer periods of free parking in Housing Board estates, following HDB's decision to extend the grace period in its carparks from 10 to 20 minutes.

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