SINGAPORE - Entry restrictions at four popular wet markets will be eased from Thursday (Aug 13) after a noticeable reduction in weekday queues, the National Environment Agency said on Tuesday.
The four wet markets are: Geylang Serai Market, Chong Pang Market at Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road, the market at Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane and the one at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
It sent a circular to stallholders at these four markets on Tuesday to announce that the rule which allowed shoppers to only visit these markets on alternate days - depending on the last digit of their identity card number - would be lifted on weekdays.
The aim is to further reduce crowding on weekends by allowing people more time to shop during the week, it said.
Since the rule was implemented on April 22, crowding at the four markets during weekdays has also been reduced to the point where short or no queues are observed.
"Safe distancing within the market will not be compromised as the access control system which caps the number of patrons who can be inside the market at any one time will still be in place," it said in a statement. "We urge members of the public to continue to adhere to safe distancing measures."
The rule will continue to apply on weekends. Other measures such as the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing purposes and the 1-metre distance between patrons will remain in place.
Chong Pang Market provision shop owner Ng Meng Seah said whether there will be a significant increase in the number of shoppers on weekdays is quite "unpredictable". The 65-year-old does not have special plans to manage potential crowds as "there is only so much you can do to prepare".
"There is not much I can do due to space constraints. I will wait for Thursday to see if there is a big change in the number of patrons before I react."
Mr Ng's earnings have been "more or less affected" in the past few months by the increased regulations but said he would not jump the gun by celebrating the easing of the rules too early.
Retiree Chan Heng Lian, who frequents Chong Pang Market, said the easing of weekday restrictions makes the rules a lot less complicated. The former electronics factory worker, who is now in his 70s, said he is happy he can now visit the market whenever he wants on weekdays, especially as "it is really crowded on weekends".
"I have already been avoiding the weekends so this is great news," he said. "This makes things so much easier for me."
This easing of restrictions comes as Singapore recorded just 61 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, a low not seen since before the circuit breaker period started.
The Government has been progressively easing rules that were imposed earlier in the year to curb the spread of Covid-19.