The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the lives of many Singaporeans and Singapore residents, but it’s the country’s frontline medical staff that have been bearing the brunt of it – both in hospitals and even outside.
After a recent viral social media post about an ambulance driver’s difficulty in even buying food from a reluctant food stall vendor, the spotlight has concerns of nurses and medical personnel being ostracised in public because of the fear they could spread the virus.
It’s even resulted in Health Minister Gan Kim Yong making a statement during a press conference, calling on Singaporeans not to shun healthcare workers and instead to be friendly and encourage them.
But amid the gloomy situation, some businesses and groups of people have publicly embraced and supported the heroes of the day – whether it’s through special discounts, freebies and unique crowdfunding initiatives.
We’ve compiled some of these heartwarming initiatives to remind everyone there’s a silver lining in all this doom and gloom. And if you know any medical staff who might appreciate these, or know people who want to chip in to do their bit, don’t forget to share this story with them, too.
GRAPPLE MAX: WRESTLING FUNDRAISER
The local pro wrestling school is literally fighting for the welfare of healthcare workers by holding a fundraising campaign in the form of a wrestling match.
The event will be held on Feb 29 – and don’t worry, you don’t have to mingle with other audience members because it’ll be streamed online on their Facebook page and you can watch it at the comfort and safety of your homes.
What’s it for? According to Grapple Max, all the proceeds will go towards obtaining transport vouchers for healthcare workers. They’re working with the Community Foundation of Singapore for this.
PEK KIO MARKET AND FOOD CENTRE: LUNCH (AND A HAIRCUT)
The Moulmein-Cairnhill Constituency Office had announced that the food centre would be launching an initiative to allow nurses in uniforms to skip the queue at 33 participating stalls.
What’s more, nurses will also be able to enjoy a free lunch, sponsored by the Pek Kio Merchant’s Association until Mar 31.
Besides the food centre, two neighbouring bakeries are also extending their Five Loaves programme to healthcare workers, which offers a free loaf of bread every week, while two hair salons are giving nurses a S$5 discount on haircuts. Because, hey, heroes have to look great too.
Meanwhile, nearby durian eatery 99 Old Trees is also giving out a free cup of durian mousse as part of the initiative.
OPERATION #BOOSTERSHOT: COFFEE
The campaign was initially self-funded by a group of friends who wanted to buy a cup of Starbucks or Coffee Bean for healthcare workers. They initially raised around S$4,000 and has since opened the campaign to crowdfunded donations, raising more than S$26,000 in total.
Their most recent stop was at the Singapore General Hospital, with S$10,000 going towards more than 1,600 cups of coffee, according to an update on the crowdfunding website Ray of Hope.
OLD CHANG KEE: CURRY PUFFS
Old Chang Kee is offering one free curry puff to healthcare workers, and has even given the option to choose between their Curry’O, Chicken Mushroom’O and Sardine’O.
While the offer was initially only given to healthcare staff from certain hospitals, they have now extended it to all medical staff.
The offer is available until 5pm daily at selected outlets: Rex, Changi Airport Terminal 3, Northpoint City, Novena Square (1st floor), JEM, IMM, Simei MRT, Waterway Point and Compass One.
BOULDER MOVEMENT: CLIMBING SESSIONS TO DE-STRESS
Days in the hospital can get long and stressful, and that’s where Boulder Movement comes in. The climbing gym is offering free entry to their gym for the month of February for healthcare workers and professionals to unwind a bit after work.
The gym is located at Downtown Gallery along Shenton Way.
CURRY TIMES: HEALTHY CHICKEN SOUP
A healthy meal for healthcare workers, Curry Times is giving a free bowl of Chicken Vegetables Soup to all healthcare workers while stocks last.
Healthcare workers can redeem their bowl of soup from 11am to 5pm daily at the following Curry Times outlets: Velocity, Westgate, Changi Airport Terminal 3 and Northpoint City.
TAKAGI RAMEN: A PLATE OF GYOZA
Available at all their outlets, Takagi Ramen is giving all healthcare workers five pieces of gyoza to show their appreciation.
In a Facebook post announcing the offer, they wrote: “Don't let the small minority of people criticising nurses for taking public transport in uniform bring you down.”
Outlets for Takagi Ramen can be found in the National University of Singapore, Downtown East, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Jurong West St 41.
THE MIX BAR: TACO OR BURRITO AND A DRINK
Looking to do their part, The Mix Bar is offering a free taco or burrito as well as a drink, daily from 11am to 6pm.
In a Facebook post sharing the offer, The Mix Bar said: “Reading the daily news we are disappointed to read that even healthcare workers are being rejected to buy food with their own money.”
You can find The Mix Bar at the recently renovated Funan IT mall.
GRAB AND GOJEK: RIDE SHARING SERVICES
To make transportation easier for healthcare workers moving to and from their jobs, Grab introduced a special ride service catering specially for that.
The pilot service was announced on Feb 12 and is available for staff from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, though Grab is looking to expand the service to include home-to-hospital trips as well as to expand the roster of participating hospitals. At the moment, around 2,000 Grab drivers have signed up to be part of the service.
Meanwhile, Gojek also has its GoHeroes initiative. In a statement, it said it will partner with all “public acute hospitals in Singapore to provide Gojek ride vouchers worth S$10 each, which they can distribute to their staff over the next three months.”
Gojek drivers have also pledged their commitment to continue providing services allowing healthcare workers to travel to and from their workplaces.
KITCHEN KUMARS: BIRYANI
The Indian restaurant at Duxton Hill has also joined in to show their support, and they’re giving out a free biryani to all healthcare workers. There’s not specific time limit for it, but as usual you’ll need to show some identification, and it will be limited to one redemption per person.
HI TEA: COLD BREW TEA
Hi Tea Singapore is giving out one of their cold brew teas. Healthcare workers can choose from their Lychee Red, Rose Pu’Er, Jasmine or Oolong flavours.
The outlet is located at Far East Plaza, so if you’re from Mount Elizabeth or KK Hospital, you might want to check them out.
THE GOOD BOYS CAFE: HEARTY BOWLS
The Good Boys café is trying to live up to their name by offering their Hearty Bowls at $1 each. The offer is limited to dine-in, and healthcare workers can redeem one bowl each day. As per their Facebook post, the café will be keeping the offer “until we are through this pandemic”.
UDDERS: A SCOOP OF ICE CREAM
All this free food needs some dessert to go with it, and Udders is giving just that. The ice-cream shop has partnered with GOMO by Singtel to give out a free scoop of Love-Me-Mo Blue Pea Vanilla flavoured ice cream. The offer is available until Mar 14 at all outlets except for Beach Road.