Two more market and food centres closed due to Covid-19 transmission among stalls and workers

Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre was one of two locations closed for cleaning and disinfection for three days from Oct 2, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The markets and food centres in Geylang Bahru and Bendemeer will be closed for cleaning and disinfection for three days, starting on Saturday (Oct 2), after stallholders and workers there were found to have Covid-19.

When The Straits Times visited Geylang Bahru market and food centre on Thursday afternoon, more than half the stalls were closed and there were signs on its walls notifying patrons of the closure.

In a statement to ST, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said the closure at both markets and hawker centres was voluntarily taken after consultation with the two hawkers' associations and the Jalan Besar Town Council.

Stall owners were notified of the closure on Wednesday.

Several customers and vendors alike at Geylang Bahru expressed their frustration at the development.

"It's only Thursday now, not even Saturday yet, but most of the halal stalls are closed already," said Madam Sakiah Rahman, who usually takes away food for her grandchildren from the stalls there.

"The virus is scary, I know. But it is frustrating now that I have to buy food somewhere else," added the 61-year-old, who said she will cook in the meantime, although she has difficulty standing for long periods of time.

Indian food stall owner Sardul Bibi said that although the closure will affect business, she would rather be safe than sorry.

"Of course, I'm sad that we have to close, but I don't want to be infected as well. Luckily, most of my customers come on weekdays anyway after work, so I won't take a big hit this weekend, unlike some other stalls," the 35-year-old.

A worker at popiah stall Fortune Food said that although the shop sees more customers on the weekends, safety is also the priority.

"The business will be affected, but look at the number of cases in Singapore these days. I want to be safe," the 54-year-old said.

The hawker centre saw lines at the stalls that were open in the evening.

Madam Elaine Tay, 44, was there to buy dinner for her family.

"Some of the stalls I usually patronise are closed today, so I'm buying from what is open," the marketing executive said.

"I understand that maybe some of the stalls are worried, but honestly, it is so tiring to keep hearing about hawker centres closing for disinfection."

The Jalan Besar Town Council told ST on Thursday: "The safety of our stallholders, residents and the public remains our top priority. We will take all necessary precautions before safely reopening the premises."

Other markets and hawker centres around Singapore have also closed for disinfection due to Covid-19 transmission recently.

Marsiling Lane Hawker Centre and Wet Market reopened on Sept 25 after a four-day closure.

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