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Food court, coffee shop diners who do not clear tables will face fines from Jan 1

Food court, coffee shop diners who do not clear tables will face fines from Jan 1
Diners at a food court at People's Park Centre. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Diners at food courts and coffee shops who do not clear their tables will face fines from Jan 1, 2022, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Monday (Aug 30).

The enforcement approach at these venues will be similar to enforcement for table littering at hawker centres, the agency said in a media release.

Enforcement at hawker centres, which was announced in May, will kick in on Wednesday, with first-time offenders receiving written warnings and second-time offenders facing a composition fine of S$300. Subsequent offenders may face court fines.

Enforcement for table littering at food courts and coffee shops will commence after a two-month advisory period from Nov 1 to Dec 31.

Similar to the enforcement roll-out at hawker centres, no action will be taken against diners who fail to clear their tables during the advisory period.

“During the advisory period, safe distancing ambassadors and officers from the Singapore Food Agency deployed at coffee shops and food courts will continue to remind operators to ensure that their diners clear their dirty trays, crockery and litter,” NEA said in a media release.

“Visual cues such as posters and banners will progressively be installed at these premises to remind diners to clear their tables.

“While no enforcement will be taken during this period, diners are reminded to comply upon being advised.”

NEA said that food courts and coffee shops are in the process of installing infrastructure for the returning of trays and crockery.

Operators can apply for 50 per cent co-funding for the installation of this infrastructure, capped at S$2,500 per premises, through the Clean Tables Support Scheme.

ENFORCEMENT AT HAWKER CENTRES

Enforcement for table littering at hawker centres will commence on Wednesday following a three-month advisory period where NEA officers, hawker centre operators and volunteers were deployed to remind diners to return their used trays and crockery, and to clear their tables of litter such as tissue paper, wrappers, drink containers and food remnants.

NEA said that the response on the ground in recent months has been encouraging.

“From an average tray and crockery return rate of about 30 per cent in February this year when the Clean Tables Campaign was launched, the average tray and crockery return rate has improved to about 65 per cent,” the agency said.

Enforcement officers will continue to advise diners to clear their tables from Wednesday, however, action will be taken against those who do not comply with the officers’ instructions.

“Enforcement will not be taken against those clearly unable to return their trays, such as the frail elderly or young children unable to purchase and carry their own food to the table,” NEA said.

To make the returning of trays and crockery more convenient for diners, NEA will introduce return trolleys and install 150 additional return racks.

“The trolleys could for example be located in areas with tight aisles in between existing tray and crockery return racks to reduce walking distance,” the agency said.

Source: CNA/kg

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