SINGAPORE - Starting on Sunday (Feb 16), the public can look out for hawker stalls sporting an "SG Clean" decal that signifies the stallholders have met certain hygiene standards.
The new scheme aims to raise cleanliness and safeguard public health amid the coronavirus outbreak, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Sunday.
The hygiene standards include ensuring that food preparation areas and equipment are sanitised, handling waste properly, and having a system in place to monitor the health of their staff.
Checks will be conducted by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), which said that its officers would carry out checks during their routine inspections at the premises. It did not say how often this would be.
Posters have also been put up around hawker centres to encourage individuals to practice good hygiene habits as well as be socially responsible, such as by returning their trays and keeping their tables clean or washing hands regularly with soap.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, who attended the launch of the campaign at the hawker centre at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday, said: "We hope that this is not something we do only because there's a crisis.
"We have to increase this awareness of the need for good personal hygiene practice, good cleaning practices and maintain these beyond this episode of the Covid-19."
This will also help to prepare Singapore for any future virus outbreaks, Mr Masagos added.
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor was also present at the launch.
The "SG Clean" quality mark will be progressively rolled out to various sectors covering areas with high human traffic, the NEA said. This includes pre-schools, schools, hotels, tourist attractions and shopping malls. Each government agency will oversee their respective sectors, and the hygiene checklist may differ from sector to sector.
Premises with the "SG Clean" quality mark will be audited by agencies or appointed third-party assessors during periodic visits, said the NEA, which did not stipulate what the frequency of visits would be.
Members of the public can also contact the NEA at the 24-hour hotline on 1800-2255 632 to provide feedback on premises which do not adhere to the stipulated hygiene conditions.
Mr Tan Shi Liang, who runs a roast meat hawker stall at Our Tampines Hub, said he had already stepped up hygiene measures before this campaign was launched.
"We have been taking extra precautions to wipe down, and sanitise with Dettol, external areas that customers use, like the countertop and payment area," said the 32-year-old.
He said his staff used to do it at the end of the day, but since the coronavirus outbreak, they have stepped it up to at least twice a day, including after the lunch peak hour.
"This hygiene checklist and decal is more of a reminder because it's our daily practice to do all this."