SINGAPORE: From Saturday (Sep 12), those visiting four popular markets in Geylang Serai, Yishun, Marsiling and Jurong will no longer have their entry restricted based on the last digit of their identification card numbers, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a news release on Thursday (Sep 10).
The markets are: Geylang Serai Market, Chong Pang Market at Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road, Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane and Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
Restricted entry based on identification card numbers had been rolled out to these locations in April due to long queues forming outside when the markets reached their allowed capacity.
Under the rules, those whose last digit on their ID card is an even number could only visit these markets on the even dates of the month. Those whose last digit is an odd number could only visit these markets on the odd dates of the month.
"With this easing, all four popular markets will no longer have odd/even date entry restriction in place, although the caps in the number of patrons who can be inside the market at any one time remain, to ensure that safe distancing can be effectively maintained inside the market," said NEA.
In August, these restrictions were eased at the four markets during weekdays.
This resulted in more business for market stallholders and more flexibility for patrons, NEA said.
“Since the lifting of the odd/even date entry restriction at the four popular markets, NEA has observed a significant increase in the average daily footfall at all four markets on weekdays, ranging from between 18 to 48 per cent.
“This has brought more business to the market stallholders while giving more flexibility to patrons visiting these popular market.”
As for the queues outside the markets, NEA said there were “either no queues or short to moderate queues observed on weekdays”, mostly at Geylang Serai Market and Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane.
“Overall, the weekday queue situation outside the markets in the past three weeks has been manageable and under control.”
The queues during the weekends at the four markets have remained “largely unchanged from what they were more than three weeks ago”, NEA said.
“This is because the odd/even date entry restriction remains in place on weekends, and there was also minimal diversion of the weekend crowd to weekdays over the last three weeks,” it explained.
The longest queues were spotted at Geylang Serai Market, with more than 100 patrons in line and Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane, with about 70 patrons in line.
At their respective peak hours, it took about 20 minutes for a customer to enter Geylang Serai Market and 15 minutes for someone to enter the market at Marsiling – a “manageable queue length” said NEA.
The other two markets did not see any queues on weekends.
“NEA will thus also lift the odd/even date entry restriction at the four popular markets on weekends, starting from Sep 12, 2020,” the agency said.
“This will allow stallholders at these markets to enjoy more footfall and give patrons slightly more flexibility to visit the markets,” it said, adding safe distancing measures would still be in place as the capacity caps will remain.
SafeEntry will also continue to be used.
NEA noted the waiting time to enter the four markets might be longer with the lifting of the entry restrictions.
It advised that members of the public should continue to adhere to safe distancing measures and are encouraged to visit the markets on weekdays or at the non-peak period between 10am to noon on weekends.
“The crowd during this time window can be up to 50 per cent less than the early morning and fresh produce continues to be available at markets up to noon.
"We will continue to monitor the safe management measures at markets and hawker centres closely and if the queue situation becomes unmanageable, we may introduce further targeted safe management measures to safeguard the safety and well-being of all patrons and stallholders in the markets."