SINGAPORE - Measures being undertaken to keep shops and streets clean and workers protected from infection came under extra scrutiny at Chinatown Street Market on Wednesday (Feb 5).
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Ng Chee Meng visited the area to ensure that standards are being met - a requirement made even more urgent given the first confirmed human-to-human transmission cases of the coronavirus here.
Mrs Teo and Mr Ng watched a shop being cleaned and then spoke to business owners, reminding them to observe personal hygiene.
Shop owners and front-line staff were also advised to step up the cleaning of areas with high human contact, such as counters where customers are served.
Mrs Teo said: "We understand that people are worried, particularly front-line workers. An advisory was sent out on Feb 4 and its aim was to strengthen the precautions in place and to keep workplaces safe as well as for businesses to continue operating.
"Employers can also play a part by helping employees familiarise themselves with what they need to do if a customer looks unwell and is coughing or sneezing, such as giving them a friendly reminder to see a doctor."
Workers were also encouraged to seek prompt medical attention if they felt unwell.
Mr Ng said front-line staff play an important role and they should observe good personal hygiene such as washing hands frequently with soap.
Mrs Zhao Hongmin, the owner of souvenir shop Orchid Chopsticks, said she has told her workers to mop the floor and clean counter tops with disinfectant liquid more frequently.
"I've also reminded workers to wash their hands after attending to each customer and not to stand too close to a customer when speaking to them," added Mrs Zhao.