Seniors should avoid dining at hawker centres and take away food instead: NEA

SINGAPORE – The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday (Oct 1) urged seniors to avoid dining at hawker centres and to buy takeaway food instead.

The latest advisory for the elderly comes amid the recent rise in Covid-19 cases that has put seniors at higher risk of developing serious health complications if infected with the coronavirus.

On Thursday (Sept 30), the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) advised seniors and their household members to stay at home for the next four weeks as the Covid-19 situation stabilises.

AIC – a unit of the Ministry of Health – also urged seniors to minimise mask-off activities and to go out only for essential activities.

NEA, in the statement on Friday, said seniors could get family members or household members to help buy food for them.

“They should in particular avoid dine-in meals or chats over drinks at hawker centres at this time,” it added.

NEA also urged those visiting markets and hawker centres to comply strictly with any safe management measure (SMM) that has been put in place, including observing safe distancing, adhering to permissible group sizes, and wearing a mask properly at all times.

Masks are to be put on once the meal is finished, NEA added.

It said agencies have received feedback of specific hawker centres where groups tender to linger and flout Covid-19 rules.

It did not say which centres these were.

NEA said it has stepped up its enforcement rounds at markets and hawker centres, and has issued more than 300 fines. It again did not say when the fines were issued.

“Firm enforcement action will be taken when enforcement officers witness SMM infringements… Strict compliance with SMMs protects everyone.”

NEA said 98 per cent of hawker stallholders and assistants have been vaccinated, but called for vigilance.

The agency added that it is also working closely with hawkers’ associations and town councils to keep hawker centre premises safe. This includes regular deep cleaning and disinfection of these premises.

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