Business as usual at S'pore's wet markets, but seafood in short supply

A safe distancing ambassador informing fishmongers and their patrons to cease the selling and buying of fish at Kovan 209 Market & Food Centre on July 18, 2021.
A safe distancing ambassador informing fishmongers and their patrons to cease the selling and buying of fish at Kovan 209 Market & Food Centre on July 18, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A shopper browsing at the fresh seafood section of the Cold Storage in Heartland Mall on July 18, 2021.
A shopper browsing at the fresh seafood section of the Cold Storage in Heartland Mall on July 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A fishmonger gesturing to a customer that there is no sale of fish at Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre on July 18, 2021.
A fishmonger gesturing to a customer that there is no sale of fish at Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre on July 18, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Fishmongers loading up boxes fish at Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre on July 18, 2021.
Fishmongers loading up boxes fish at Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre on July 18, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Fishmongers at several wet markets around the island were closed, but it was business as usual at meat and vegetable stalls as residents largely stuck to their regular Sunday (July 18) grocery run.

Crowds at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre, for instance, formed long but orderly lines and observed social distancing when The Straits Times visited.

Stallholder Mariati Rahim, 44, who sells halal beef, lamb and poultry, said business was brisk at her wet market stall.

"This is because of Hari Raya Haji, and we are the only halal stall open now in this wet market," she said.

The Muslim festival of Hari Raya Haji is on Tuesday, which is also a public holiday.

Other stallholders, like a woman who sells pork and wanted to be known only as Madam Goh, said crowds were slightly better than they were on Saturday, likely because fishmongers there are all closed today, and people are less worried.

However, Madam Goh, 69, added that she is worried someone at the market and food centre will test positive and she would have to close.

"If business is affected further, we just have to put up the white flag," she said.

A 63-year-old sundry shop owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ong, also said business was not affected after the Covid-19 cluster at Jurong Fishery Port and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre was reported.

He said: "There are no clusters in our area as of now, and people tend to come and stock up in advance in case things get more difficult to buy if the situation gets worse."

In Pasir Ris, a resident, Mr Mark Lim, 58, said he was unable to get his usual supply of sea bass, cod and salmon.

Mr Lim, who is an IT consultant, said: "I didn't manage to get any fish today. Everything was snapped up. I have been vaccinated, but I am still worried about the cluster."


A shopper browsing at the seafood section of NTUC FairPrice in Bedok Town Centre on July 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Madam Aida, 50, who frequents both the market in Tekka Centre and the market in Block 441 Pasir Ris Drive 6, said she bought most of her seafood last week, so she is not affected by the supply disruption.

She said: "But you can tell there isn't much seafood today. It has also been harder to get other seafood like prawns. For those doing their last-minute shopping for Hari Raya, it would be more difficult for them."

At the market in Block 505 Jurong West Street 52, pork seller Jessica Tan, 55, said she has not experienced such bad business in her 33 years of operations.

"I've managed to sell only about 30 per cent or 40 per cent of my pork today. I don't know what to do if things continue this way," she added.

Ms Tan said that apart from the recent cluster in Jurong Fishery Port affecting fishmongers at wet markets, false rumours have been circulating about a stallholder in Jurong West getting Covid-19 and urging people to avoid the market.

She said: "So many people have asked me if these are true. Please help to spread the word that no one has been infected here. If so, the market would be closed by now."

  • Additional reporting by Tay Hong Yi, Adeline Tan and Cheryl Tan