Coronavirus: Customers flock to barbers and bakers after they are allowed to reopen

Customers at Bugs Bunny barber shop in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh on May 12, 2020. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Ms Rebecca Yong set an alarm for 8pm on Monday (May 11) to remind her to be at her laptop - to buy cookies and brownies.

She was eager to get her hands on the sweet treats by Deebakes, the home-based bakery which was among the businesses allowed to reopen on Tuesday (May 12) after being shut down for nearly three weeks as a result of stricter measures during the circuit breaker.

But Ms Yong had no luck in the online pre-sale and failed to get her hands on a box of goodies as everything was sold out almost immediately.

"I've been wanting to try their dark chocolate sea salt brownie for weeks after seeing it on my Instagram feed and was so excited when home bakers could sell their goods again. I guess I'll have to try my luck again," she said.

Other businesses allowed to reopen as Singapore proceeds cautiously with the resumption of some services include cake and dessert shops, laundry services and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) halls, as well as hairdressers and barbers.

At the Bugs Bunny Barber in Toa Payoh, customers arrived from as early as 6.30am even though opening time was 8am. Mr Hasbullah Abdul Latiff, 51, whose father owns the shop, said that business was so brisk that the barbers were barely able to catch a break all morning.

A constant stream of customers was also apparent at Snip Avenue salon at Bishan Street 13, with more than 10 people spotted in a queue.

Many customers in the line declined to be interviewed, although one man in his 50s, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented how he "could not stand" his unkempt hair a day more. "It's messy and too warm," he said.

Two TCM halls at Clementi Avenue 2 also had a steady flow of its mostly regular customers, most of whom were stocking up on herbs and other medicines.

SPH Brightcove Video
Customers were out and about cutting their hair, buying cakes and pet supplies. We speak to businesses on what the preparations were like and how they complied with safety restrictions.

Madam Zhang, who is in her 60s, made a trip to the Ban Joo Tong Medical Hall as she needed certain herbs for cooking, and for making soup. "This is a traditional business and it does not sell its products online, so I had to come down to have a look," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.