What you need to know when eating out at hawker centres

by Our Neighbourhood
What you need to know when eating out at hawker centres

Dining out is a favourite Singaporean pastime. Those who dine at hawker centres are now required to clear tables of dirty trays, crockery and litter after their meals. The move, announced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on May 14, is part of a broader effort to maintain good public hygiene and cleanliness standards during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This self-service approach will also help to keep our dining places safe, as a majority of the cleaning workforce comprise seniors who may be more vulnerable to diseases such as Covid-19.

To help diners familiarise themselves and adjust, the new rule enforced by NEA kicked in with a three-month advisory period from June 1 to August 31, 2021. Safe Distancing Ambassadors, SG Clean Ambassadors, Community Volunteers and NEA officers will be deployed at hawker centres to remind diners to clear their dirty trays, crockery and litter.

In line with the enforcement, NEA will install more than 75 tray and crockery return racks at hawker centres, on top of the 900 existing racks, to improve the table-cleaning workflow. Posters and banners will also be installed at hawker centres to remind diners to clear their tables. The Singapore Food Agency will also work with NEA to roll out similar enforcement at coffee shops and food courts in the fourth quarter of this year.

From September 1, NEA will take enforcement action against diners at hawker centres who leave dirty trays, crockery and litter, such as used tissues, wet wipes, straws, wrappers, canned drinks, plastic bottles and food remnants. The enforcement will kick in at coffee shops and foodcourts from 1 January, 2022, after a two month advisory period from October to December 2021. Those who do not heed the advice will have their particulars taken down and be issued a written warning for the first offence. Second-time offenders will be fined $300, and subsequent offenders may face court fines.

However, enforcement action will not be taken against the elderly, the disabled and children who are unable to clear their tables. Instead, family members or dining companions of these groups should help dispose of the litter and return the dirty trays and crockery. The officers will also educate and advise children on the importance of clearing their tables after their meal.

It is a gracious act to leave behind a clean table for the next patron, and everyone can play a part in maintaining a clean dining environment as well as safeguarding against any public health risk.

政府出台新条例,要求食客在小贩中心用餐后归还托盘和餐具及清理垃圾,以维持餐饮场所的清洁及保护清洁工人的安全,因为大多数清洁工人是容易受冠病等疾病感染的年长者。安全距离大使、新加坡保洁运动大使、社区义工和国家环境局人员将在小贩中心提醒食客归还托盘和餐具及清理垃圾。从9月1日起,国家环境局将对用餐后留下托盘、餐具及用过的纸巾、湿纸巾、吸管、包装纸、罐装饮料、塑料瓶和食物残渣等垃圾的食客采取执法行动。初犯者将接获书面警告,重犯者将面对300元罚款或被控上法庭。

Highlights