As part of the gradual resumption of activities in Phase Two of Singapore’s reopening, the odd/even date entry restriction will be lifted at the top four popular markets on weekdays, starting from 13 August, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a statement on Tuesday (11 Aug).
The four popular markets are Geylang Serai Market, Block 104/105 Yishun Ring Road (Chong Pang Market), Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane, and Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
Despite the lifting of the entry restriction, NEA noted that “safe distancing within the market will not be compromised as the access control system which caps the number of patrons who can be inside the market at any one time will still be in place”.
It added that the odd/even date entry restriction will remain in place on weekends.
In order to create enough space to ensure effective safe distancing within the market, the access control system was implemented at the start of the circuit breaker period at 39 popular markets which required patrons to queue outside the market once the number of patrons inside the market had reached the stipulated allowable capacity.
“As long queues started to form outside a few popular markets, the odd/even date entry restriction was also implemented on 22 April 2020 at four of the most popular markets,” the agency stated.
By implementing the odd/even date restriction, patrons with an odd last digit of their National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) or Foreign Identification Number (FIN) can only visit these markets on the odd dates of the month while patrons with an even last digit can only visit these markets on the even dates of the month.
According to the NEA, the odd/even date restriction has been effective in significantly reducing the queues outside the four markets.
“While the queue situation does vary across the four markets, there is generally little or no queues observed outside these markets on weekdays. Queues are still observed on certain weekends at some of these markets, and the crowd is generally about 20-40 per cent more on weekends than weekdays,” it added.
Hence, with the easing of odd/even date entry restriction, the agency urges patrons to visit these popular markets on a weekday instead of a weekend.
“To minimise crowding and ensure effective safe distancing, we continue to urge patrons to visit markets on weekdays wherever possible, or at the non-peak period between 10:00am to 12:00pm on weekends.
“The crowd during this time window can be up to 50 per cent less than the early morning and fresh produce continues to be available at markets up to noon,” it stated.
The NEA also explained that the “calibrated resumption of activities in the markets” is necessary for the authority to “continue keeping the likelihood of community transmission to a minimum”.
“We will monitor the situation closely and will continue to review the safe management measures at markets and hawker centres as part of the gradual re-opening,” it remarked, adding that social responsibility is critical in slowing the transmission of COVID-19.