Motor workshops ordered to close earlier now told they can continue to operate

Performance Motors is one of several motor workshops allowed to continue operations. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - Just days after it ordered several motor workshops to close, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has told some of them that they could continue to operate.

The workshops are now sending out another round of e-mails informing customers of the latest turn of events.

In an e-mail sent to workshop operators such as multi-franchise Wearnes Automotive, BMW agent Performance Motors and Nissan dealer Tan Chong Motors as early as Tuesday night (April 28), the MTI said: "This is regarding the earlier notification you received to rescind earlier exemption from suspension. We would like to inform you that (name of company) may continue with operations for the duration of the circuit breaker."

Companies which received the latest notification were baffled. "We're not sure what is happening," one said. "This is a roller coaster."

Asked to comment on the apparent double U-turn, an MTI spokesman said on Wednesday evening it recognises that recovery and repair services for emergency vehicles are an essential service.

"Accordingly, we have allowed workshops that provide such services to continue to operate during this period."

Some of the workshops which were given 48 hours to close over the weekend and on Monday have long supplied and serviced such vehicles. For instance, Wearnes and Tan Chong both sell ambulances.

In its latest note, the MTI reminded companies that they are required to "implement strict safe distancing measures within their premises, and for company-arranged transport, to reduce social interactions among workers during their course of work, as well as during their meal and break times".

It had previously said it had rescinded the permission to operate for some workshops to reduce the movement of people further to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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