Temasek to give out 2 free reusable masks to each Singapore resident from Sept 21

Madam Ng Yang Cher collecting her free masks in Tampines on Sept 21, 2020. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Reusable antimicrobial masks from Temasek Foundation. PHOTO: TEMASEK FOUNDATION
The collection of masks will span a two week period, from Sept 21 till Oct 4. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Each Singapore resident will be able to collect a pair of reusable masks using their Government-issued ID from Sept 21, in yet another nationwide mask distribution initiative by Temasek Foundation.

Domestic helpers and workers on work passes will also be able to collect the masks. Toddlers to 12-year-olds will be eligible for kid-size masks.

Temasek chief executive and executive director Ho Ching made the announcement on Facebook on Wednesday (Sept 9) night. WhatsApp messages have been speculating about the exercise.

"The Temasek Foundation folks have been planning this for some time, and were working to make a formal announcement before this weekend," Ms Ho said.

The collection of masks will span a two-week period, from Sept 21 till Oct 4. Ms Ho said there are ample supplies of white cloth masks and urged people to go after the first three days to avoid crowds.

In an update on Thursday (Sept 10), Temasek Foundation gave more details on the exercise, and said that the masks can be collected from vending machines by scanning the bar codes of an NRIC, school smartcard, birth certificate, FIN or any government-issued identification with a bar code.

Residents may collect on behalf of their family members and friends, by bringing and scanning the bar codes of their respective government-issued IDs.

From 8am on Sunday, members of the public may visit to check on the locations of the vending machines for each of the different mask types, as well as the availability of mask stocks.

Those who want more masks, or who want masks in other colours - such as black, peach, denim blue and navy - can pre-order them online for a fee.

The adult and kid white masks go for $8 per kit - containing two masks - and people can pre-order up to a maximum of 10 extra kits per person.

Navy masks also go for $8 per pair, capped at 10 per person, while masks in other colours are $10 per pair, capped at five kits per person.

Pre-orders can be made from Sunday till Oct 2 at or via the DBS PayLah! App.

Temasek Foundation said that pre-orders are subject to stock availability and that there will be no direct sales or payment at the vending machines. Payment may be made online using PayNow, credit cards, or via the DBS PayLah! App.

A unique QR code will be generated for each successful transaction, which will then be sent to the mobile number used for the order. Residents may then scan their unique pre-order QR code at the vending machines to redeem and collect their pre-paid mask kits.

If the initial vending machine runs out of stock, or if they order different colours requiring collection at different machines, they can redeem the balance of their order from another machine.

Madam Ng Yang Cher with her free masks in Tampines on Sept 21, 2020. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A round of mask distribution, also by Temasek Foundation, was conducted in June and July through some 1,200 vending machines at bus interchanges, community centres/clubs and residents' committee centres.

The National Day packs by the National Day Parade organising committee also contained face masks that people said were practical and gave the annual pack a much more functional purpose.

Temasek Foundation said on Thursday that it was embarking on this second round of distribution due to the popularity of the first reusable masks it distributed.

"Reusable masks are a useful and sustainable alternative to single-use disposable masks, which are highly pollutive for our environment if not disposed of correctly," it said, adding that since the outbreak, nearly 100 million disposable masks have used each month globally.

The foundation added: "This is well over a billion annually. The environmental impact from the use and disposal of these masks can be greatly reduced if we can make the switch to reusable masks."

Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng said: "Together with our partners, we will continue to find more ways to help our communities stay safe, including using the vending machine network to distribute useful items such as medical supplies, vitamins or food, in future."

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