NEA offers up to 90% funding for coffee shops to improve toilets under new programme

NEA offers up to 90% funding for coffee shops to improve toilets under new programme

Hawker Centre in Singapore
File photo of a hawker centre at Ang Mo Kio Central. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

SINGAPORE: Coffee shops wanting to improve their toilet design and infrastructure can get up to 90 per cent funding from the National Environment Agency (NEA) under a new programme launched on Friday (Oct 2).

Coffee shops are eligible for the highest co-funding of 90 per cent – capped at S$45,000 - if they also remove existing smoking corners.

“This is to incentivise coffee shop operators who have smoking corners on their premises to eradicate the problem of second-hand smoke and create a more pleasant dining environment for all their patrons,” said the agency in a media release. 

READ: NEA urges coffee shops to remove smoking corners, launches programme to improve toilets

WATCH: New hygiene standards for public toilets to take effect from April 2020

Coffee shops that do not have existing smoking corners can apply for 70 per cent funding support, capped at S$35,000 – the baseline subsidy level.

Operators who choose not to remove smoking corners will be eligible for 60 per cent funding, capped at S$30,000. 

"Good design lays the foundation for clean public toilets," said NEA as it launched the Toilet Improvement Programme. 

"While participation in the programme is optional, operators of around 1,100 coffee shops in Singapore are strongly encouraged to apply, as the cleanliness of toilets contributes significantly to the overall hygiene of coffee shops as eating establishments and is good for their business."

DEEP CLEANING OF TOILETS TO BE DONE EVERY FORTNIGHT

Under the Toilet Improvement Programme, coffee shops must put in place a cleaning contract to conduct deep cleaning of the renovated toilets once every fortnight.

"This cleaning contract will also be heavily subsidised, up to the same level of 90 per cent, and will be co-funded for the first year," said NEA. 

It added that deep cleaning should be done on top of the daily cleaning.

READ: 'Marked regression' in public toilet cleanliness at coffee shops, hawker centres: SMU study

READ: Do hand dryers in public toilets spread bacteria and fungi?

For hawker centres, NEA will similarly co-fund town councils up to 90 per cent of the cost of upgrading toilets.

NEA said it aims to co-fund up to 40 hawker centres whose common areas and toilets are managed by their town councils.

The Toilet Improvement Programme will run until March 2022.

READ: Drink water from a public toilet? Singapore's taps put to the test

NEA said regular inspections are conducted, adding that action was taken against 123 owners and operators of public toilets between Jan 1 and Aug 31.

Penalties were enhanced earlier this year for lapses in public toilet cleanliness.

For instance, owners and operators of public toilets can be fined up to S$400 on the first offence for failing to provide basic amenities like soap or toilet paper.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said public health and cleanliness are "key to protecting our community from environmental public health threats". 

Addressing the COVID-19 situation, Ms Fu said that the pandemic has underscored the importance of improving the cleanliness of public areas and amenities in Singapore, including toilets.

“While the Government will continue to support the enhancement of public toilet infrastructure and the training and uplifting of the environmental services sector, premises operators must step up and co-own efforts by ensuring the provision of amenities and regular maintenance of sanitary fittings,” said Ms Fu.

“Toilet users should also use the facilities responsibly and help keep toilets clean. Let us work collectively to keep Singapore clean and safe.”

Source: CNA/ad(gs)

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