Foreigners, housemates in service line here taking precautions

Atatcutz Singapore in Bedok yesterday. A new Covid-19 cluster at the barber shop had six cases as at Saturday. Three of the infected barbers are Malaysians aged 24 to 27. Two of them live in the same household with a 46-year-old Singaporean woman who
Atatcutz Singapore in Bedok yesterday. A new Covid-19 cluster at the barber shop had six cases as at Saturday. Three of the infected barbers are Malaysians aged 24 to 27. Two of them live in the same household with a 46-year-old Singaporean woman who also tested positive.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Aware that there has been a spate of Covid-19 cases involving front-line workers such as hairstylists and delivery riders, foreigners working in service roles here said they have been taking precautions at work, such as washing their hands more frequently and checking their temperature daily.

They have also kept conversations with household contacts to a minimum. That is why, despite living and working with other customer-facing front-liners, many said they are not overly concerned about catching Covid-19.

A new Covid-19 cluster at a barber shop in Bedok, Atatcutz Singapore, had six cases as at Saturday.

Three of the infected barbers are Malaysians aged 24 to 27. Two of them live in the same household with a 46-year-old Singaporean woman who also tested positive.

A customer, a 26-year-old Malaysian delivery rider for Pizza Hut, and his housemate, a 35-year-old Malaysian colleague, are also in the cluster.

When contacted, Atatcutz Singapore did not reply to queries. However, the shop's recent Instagram posts appealed to customers to be understanding during this time.

"No one wanted to be in this situation, not the customer and definitely not our barbers," it said. "This is also not the time to point fingers."

The shop had taken precautions, including making customers wear their masks at all times, registering customers and shortening the duration of its services to "ensure reduced contact time", it noted.

Hair salons told The Straits Times that they have implemented similar measures, from checking temperature to observing a safe distance, to safeguard staff and customers.

At Kcuts express hair salons, customers are asked to wait outside till their turn and to keep their masks on during the haircut.

Face shields are offered to staff who want extra protection, and certain outlets do not operate all cutting stations, to meet safe distancing requirements.

Mr Samuel Pei, director at hair and beauty chain KC Group, which runs Kcuts, said front-facing staff "deserve our utmost respect" for offering essential services to the community despite risks of infection.

"Many of them don masks while standing on their feet for the entire work day," he added.

Many foreigners working in service roles live with housemates who are in the same line. They usually see one another only briefly at night, interacting when they feel homesick, they told ST.

Malaysian national Anie Foo, 28, a sales assistant, does not leave her flat unnecessarily.

She shares a rented room with another Malaysian, and said she makes an effort to observe good hygiene wherever she goes, such as washing her hands regularly.

"We also want this pandemic to be over, so we can go home and visit our families," she said.

A hairdresser, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lin, takes turns to clean the common areas of the apartment she shares with three fellow Chinese nationals, who also work in the service sector.

"We try to take care of one another here, because it can be a big problem if one of us spreads the virus to the others," said Ms Lin, 29.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2021, with the headline 'Foreigners, housemates in service line here taking precautions'. Subscribe