SINGAPORE - The Public Hygiene Council (PHC) has been working with a number of coffee shop operators here to enhance hygiene and cleanliness standards on their premises.
These include having a spring-cleaning regimen in place and making sure that frequent touchpoints and food preparation areas are regularly sanitised.
Around 400 of the 1,100 coffee shops islandwide have already met the requirements and have received the SG Clean certification.
Major coffee shop operators such as Broadway, S-11 and GHK have stated their commitment to work towards attaining the certification for all their respective coffee shops.
A study conducted by the Singapore Management University that was released in May found that public toilet hygiene standards have declined significantly in local hawker centres and coffee shops, with toilets in coffee shops being comparatively dirtier.
Mr Edward D'Silva, chairman of the PHC, said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (July 22) that toilets in coffee shops are key contributors to the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the coffee shop environment and added that "dirty and wet toilets are fertile breeding grounds for germs and viruses".
In order to ensure basic standards of hygiene for dining areas and toilets, the PHC recommends that the Government provide grants for the upgrading of existing facilities and accessories.
This includes ensuring that all toilets are regularly cleaned and equipped with a constant supply of soap and toilet paper.
Support and funding should be provided for cleaners to attend training workshops regularly to upskill and be more effective in their cleaning responsibilities.
The PHC is currently working with the National Environment Agency to provide more training to its operators.
Broadway F&B Management has had 15 out of its 26 coffee shop outlets certified with SG Clean and is working to have the rest certified as well.
Mr Goh Hung Kwang, chairman of GHK Holdings, said the operator has had all its 11 coffee shop outlets certified with SG Clean since the campaign was announced in February.
To ensure that hygiene standards are adhered to, the operator has increased the number of cleaners rostered each shift from two to three. Tables are swiftly and thoroughly wiped down after patrons have left and frequent spot checks are conducted to ensure that all toilets are clean.
GHK partnered the PHC's Keep Viruses At Bay initiative in February.
Under this initiative, which complemented the launch of the SG Clean campaign, coffee shop operators were engaged to step up cleaning regimes and remind patrons to practice good personal hygiene habits.
The campaign had kicked off at the GHK @ Khatib coffee shop, which is located at Block 848 Yishun Street 81.
Ms Lee Bee Wah, former member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, who was part of the Keep Viruses at Bay initiative, said that it is paramount for "coffee shop operators to continue maintaining high standards of hygiene now that phase two has commenced and more Singaporeans are dining out in small groups".
However, the onus is also on Singaporeans to develop the culture of shared responsibility by " returning their trays and utensils after meals, binning used tissue and keeping the toilet clean and dry", she said.
Ms Carrie Tan, the newly elected MP for Nee Soon GRC, said: "The standards of cleanliness at coffee shops, the toilets and the environment have a huge impact on the health of our residents and stallholders in the community.
"We would like to encourage residents to think about their coffee shops as an extension of their homes and do their part in keeping them clean," she said.