SINGAPORE: More than 400 people were turned away from the four wet markets in Singapore that have instituted restricted entry to curb the spread of COVID-19, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Apr 24).
Friday was the first day the rule - which allows entry to four popular wet markets in Singapore based on the last digit of patrons' identification card numbers - was enforced by NEA and the relevant Town Councils.
About 5 per cent of people who turned up at the affected wet markets during the traditional peak hours of between 7am and 10am failed to adhere to the new restrictions and were turned away, the agency said.
The rejection rate among the wet markets ranged from 1 per cent at Chong Pang Market to 10 per cent at the market located at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
The other two wet markets with restrictions in place are Geylang Serai Market and Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane.
Under the restricted entry rules, those whose last digit on their IC is an even number may only visit these markets on the even dates of the month, while those whose last digit is an odd number may only visit these markets on the odd dates of the month.
READ: Thinner crowds at 4 wet markets with restricted entry; NEA says IC requirement to be enforced from Apr 24
"Across all four markets, the queues were shorter this morning than the past two days since the new entry restriction came into force on Apr 22, ranging from no queues to queues of about 20 people," NEA noted.
NEA also observed that almost all patrons had brought their IC or FIN documentation with them when visiting the wet markets. The agency said this was an "encouraging development".
"Overall, the above observations indicate an increased awareness of the new entry restriction among patrons of these markets and hence a higher adherence rate. This has also led to shorter queues and a more pleasant and safe marketing experience for all patrons," said NEA.
VISIT SLIGHTLY LATER ON WEEKENDS TO AVOID CROWDS
Heading into the weekend, NEA has advised customers to avoid visiting wet markets and instead make their shopping trips on a weekday.
For those who still insist on doing their marketing on weekends, the agency recommended that they visit the wet markets slightly later to avoid crowds, starting from about 10am.
"Fresh produce continues to be available till about noon," NEA said.
Most wet markets, it added, are also open on Mondays, and customers can purchase their needed produce then with a smaller crowd.
The date-based restrictions were introduced to ensure safe distancing as part of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, in addition to earlier measures such as controlled entry and exit points at wet markets.
In a media release on Thursday, the NEA said it had been taking an "advisory approach" to the new requirements over the past two days, where patrons who came on the wrong date were reminded of the new restriction, but were still allowed to enter the wet markets.
The restrictions had resulted in decreased queue lengths during the morning peak periods at the four wet markets, with about 80 per cent of patrons adhering to the date restrictions on Thursday, the agency noted.