NTUC FairPrice “strongly encouraged” all shoppers to wear masks while shopping for groceries across its stores nationwide in light of the escalation of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
FairPrice in its press statement on Thursday (9 April) said that this measure is in line with the Ministry of Health’s latest approach of encouraging people to wear masks and to continue ensuring the safety of its shoppers and staff.
The masks have been distributed to all staff every day for them to wear it during the course of their work at all supermarkets.
Noting the rapidly evolving situation of COVID-19, FairPrice Group CEO Seah Kian Peng said, “We have to be nimble and adapt promptly to the latest developments. To protect both our staff and customers, we strongly encourage our shoppers to wear masks while shopping at our stores.”
On top of safe distancing measures, Mr Seah said that wearing a mask could provide some basic protection and also protects others as someone may infected with COVID-19 without knowing it.
“We remind and also thank customers for acting responsibly to ensure the safety of all shoppers. Let’s do our part together to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Mr Seah said.
According to FairPrice, the number of customers within each store will also be limited when necessary through the additional crowd control measures that introduced by FairPrice to ensure safe distancing measures are followed.
Meanwhile the staff will assist to direct customers on their movements in and out of stores.
As part of efforts to curb the spread of virus, FairPrice also implemented measures such as floor markings at checkout queues, in-store posters, announcements to encourage safe distancing, ceased food sampling activities as well as cleaning high-touch surfaces like railings, trolleys, baskets, checkout counters for every four hours.
Other than this, temperature checking for all staff and suppliers will also be conducted at least twice a day and hand sanitisers have been deployed for customers to use.
Government reviews stance on mask usage
Singapore government has reviewed its stance on wearing a medical mask with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who announced last Friday (3 Apr) that the authorities will “no longer discourage people from wearing masks” given the concerns of the asymptomatic spread in the country.
In a televised address, PM Lee said, “We also now have evidence that an infected person can show no symptoms, and yet still pass on the virus to others,” adding, “This is why the WHO is reviewing the issue of face masks, and so is the US CDC.”
“Therefore we will no longer discourage people from wearing masks,” said PM Lee.
However, this statement was contrary to government’s previous advisory on mask usage.
PM Lee reasoned that the government’s previous advise on public to wear mask only if they are unwell was based on the “scientific advice and guidelines” from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Additionally, there were no instances of community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Singapore initially, he noted, adding, “It was very unlikely for you to run into anyone with COVID-19 on the street, much less be infected by them.”