'We know how it feels': Logistics firm owners create space for delivery riders amid COVID-19 dine-in restrictions
SINGAPORE: When dining-in restrictions were announced recently, the owners of a logistics firm thought about one group of people who will be affected - food delivery riders.
Mr Muhammad Adha and Mr Muhammad Ikhbar, co-owners of Bao Logistics, realised that riders will need a space to sit during their breaks.
"We know how it feels like to deliver orders everyday under the hot sun ... all kinds of weather," Mr Adha said.
Beyond just eating, dining-in at food and beverage outlets previously would mean that riders could relax and enjoy the environment, he said.
READ: Group sizes down from 5 to 2, dining-in suspended as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures
As part of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), dining-in at F&B establishments was suspended on May 16 through Jun 13. This includes hawker centres and food courts, both indoors and outdoors.
So Mr Adha and Mr Ikhbar decided to make available an unused air-conditioned space within their premises in an Yishun industrial building so that food delivery riders could have a place to rest and eat at. They moved into the building three weeks ago.
"We had an empty space, so why not?" Mr Adha said.
To prepare for it, they used tape to demarcate "parking lots" for motorcycles and electric bicycles outside their unit on the seventh floor of the building.
The firm then posted an announcement on their company's Facebook page welcoming delivery riders to rest and eat their meals at the space from 12pm to 10pm everyday.
HAVING A SPACE TO GO TO
When CNA visited the premises on Thursday (May 20) at about 4pm, three riders were seen making themselves comfortable in the room, observing a safe distance from one another, and all of them had their masks on.
The riders, who are friends, told CNA that they saw the Facebook post and decided to take their break there.
READ: New COVID-19 measures in Singapore: What is allowed under the tighter restrictions?
Among them was Mr Feddly Shah, 37, who has been a rider for more than a year.
"We are so touched that they thought about us," he said.
Before the new rules kicked in, they would usually take their breaks at coffee shops.
With the dining-in restrictions, the riders, who mostly do their deliveries around the Yishun area have resorted to sitting at roadsides or outside convenience stores to have their meals.
They had also been going into air-conditioned shopping malls to cool off a bit, but the communal seats there are not always available, the riders said.
"Sometimes we sit in the toilet to rest," Mr Feddly added.
The riders said that they sometimes have had to wait for one to two hours for food orders to be ready. While waiting, they would previously be able to sit inside the outlets to take a short rest, something they are not able to do now.
Mr Muhammad Hamizan, 31, who first saw the post by Bao Logistics and shared it with his other two friends, said the new space is "good for riders, rather than sitting outside malls".
Members of Parliament (MPs) also took to Facebook to post information on spaces within their wards that delivery riders, taxi drivers and private hire drivers are free to use.
MP Baey Yam Keng (PAP-Tampines) said that an area at the void deck of Block 475 at Tampines N4 neighbourhood centre has been set aside for them to have their meals.
MP Tan Chuan Jin (PAP-Marine Parade) wrote on his Facebook: "We have arranged for our sports/function halls in our Kampong Kembangan Community Club and Kampong Ubi Community Club for our food delivery riders and Safe Distancing Ambassadors to have a space to take meal breaks."
Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are welcome as well, he added.
His fellow MP Seah Kian Peng (PAP-Marine Parade) also said on his Facebook page that he has made similar arrangements at Braddell Heights community club.
"A proper place to eat and and have a short break is important," he said.
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