NRIC-Based Entry Might Be Coming To More S’pore Markets, List Of Popular Supermarkets Already Released

On Tuesday (21 Apr), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that there would be tighter control of crowds in Singapore’s markets during the now-extended ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, as he urged citizens to do grocery shopping alone.

This was perhaps due to the observation that Singaporeans are still flocking to markets to do their grocery shopping at popular periods of the day, resulting in people being packed in enclosed spaces and making adequate social distancing almost impossible.

Following that, the National Environment Agency introduced a new NRIC-based entry system in four wet markets that have seen high visitor traffic, where people can only enter markets on alternate days depending on the last digit of their NRIC or FIN numbers.

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While there have been no reports yet on whether this NRIC-based entry will be extended to more supermarkets, the Ministry Of Trade and Industry (MTI) has also released a list of supermarkets with high traffic.

High-traffic supermarkets should conduct contact tracing

According to the MTI press release on Tuesday (21 Apr), the following branches have been advised to take down shoppers’ information to facilitate contact tracing if doable.

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According to the press release, measures like temperature screening and recording of personal particulars will start at popular malls and supermarkets from today (22 Apr).

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Supermarkets have also been encouraged to:

  1. Advise shoppers to limit their excursions to only one family member, to prevent family outings at supermarkets.
  2. Reserve certain opening hours for the vulnerable, like the elderly, disabled and pregnant.
  3. Sell some of their products outdoors or in mall atriums to divert the crowd.
  4. Log their workers’ entering and exiting, possibly with a digital application called SafeEntry.

Image courtesy of MS News reader

Will NRIC entry system apply to these supermarkets soon?

At a press conference on Tuesday (21 Apr), Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong also mentioned the NRIC-based entry system as an example of more stringent measures in markets.

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He also said that these measures will start with the four wet markets in Geylang Serai, Chong Pang, Marsiling Lane and Jurong West Street 52.

But they may also be extended to even more markets, and to supermarkets as well.

While the MTI has not said that the popular supermarkets in its list would eventually have to enforce NRIC-based entry restrictions, we think that this might be the case if things don’t improve.

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Avoid going to the market during peak hours

Therefore, please heed the authorities’ advice, and beat the crowd by doing your essential shopping on weekdays and off-peak hours, or by avoiding these high-traffic locations altogether.

And please, go to the supermarket alone, and do not treat it as a family outing.

Hopefully, these new measures can help us prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in congested areas.

Featured image adapted from MS News.