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COVID-19: NEA to conduct crowd management trial at Serangoon Garden market, delays expected

COVID-19: NEA to conduct crowd management trial at Serangoon Garden market, delays expected

A Google Street View of Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre.

SINGAPORE: There may be queues and delays at Serangoon Garden Market this weekend during the morning peak hour, as the National Environment Agency (NEA) starts a trial to study how crowd management can be conducted in a market setting.  

In a media release on Thursday (Apr 2), NEA said it will look into how the entry and exit points of the market can be controlled to avoid overcrowding at the market, amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The agency noted that there are still "substantial crowds" at markets on weekends. 

The announcement of the trial comes a day after NEA said that 83 markets would implement queue markings to help customers keep a safe distance from each other to curb further spread of COVID-19. 

As of Thursday, 16 markets have rolled out the floor markings, said NEA. 

Examples of floor markings at a market. (Photo: National Environment Agency)

READ: Queue markings at markets part of new COVID-19 safe distancing measures - NEA

"With the trial to limit the number of patrons entering markets, there may be queues and delays at Serangoon Garden Market this weekend, especially during the peak period of 7.30am to 10am," said NEA.

"We seek patrons' understanding and cooperation with our ground officers in order to keep the visit experience for all patrons pleasant and safe."

Starting this weekend, NEA will also deploy SG Clean ambassadors and volunteers to its hawker centres to guide patrons on maintaining safe distancing. 

Safe distancing measures at public places including hawker centres went into effect on Wednesday. These include alternate seats at cooked food sections of all hawker centres and floor queue markings at 1,368 popular cooked food stalls. 

"While adherence to these measures has improved to about 60 per cent, more patrons need to come onboard, especially at our markets which still see substantial crowds on the weekends," said NEA. 

READ: Singapore reports 4th death from COVID-19, a 68-year-old Indonesian national

"As a community, we need to improve the adherence rate of the safe distancing measures to safeguard the safety of our hawkers and patrons at our hawker centres," the agency added. 

NEA also encouraged members of the public to visit markets on weekdays instead.

"As there are significant crowds at our markets during the weekends, members of the public are encouraged to visit on weekdays, when the footfall is at least 30 per cent less as compared to the weekends," it said. 

"Avoid visiting the markets only during the weekends, especially between 7.30am and 10am when there are usually bigger crowds. Go early if you must on weekends as stalls open as early as 5am," it added. 

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Source: CNA/hs(gs)

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