The reusable masks allocated to each household will not be sent via post, in order to prevent wastage, according to Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
This is in line with a previous explanation given by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, when the Singapore government previously distributed surgical masks to households in February.
In a Facebook post on Apr. 4, Chan emphasised that several measures will be put in place for households to collect their masks safely from collection centres.
This includes implementing priority queues for seniors and spacing out collection times.
30 per cent of households did not collect masks, or think they needed the masks during last exercise
Chan explained that although the government has considered sending the masks via post, they have declined to do so for several reasons.
Firstly, not all households may need or want the masks, so posting masks to every household will be a huge waste of resources.
He cited the fact that during the previous surgical mask collection exercise, more than 30 per cent of households did not collect them, or think that they needed the masks.
"That would mean wasting more than a million precious masks," said Chan.
He also said that packing the masks according to the number of people staying in each household is a time and manpower-intensive task, and that if the government sends an individually packed mask to each individual, it would take much more effort and time.
Chan also said that based on past experiences, many disputes and uncertainties will occur over whether individuals in particular households actually received their items.
Priority queues for seniors
According to Chan, the government would adopt several measures to minimise the rush and queues at mask collection centres.
Collection times would be spaced out by blocks and precincts, in order to minimise queues.
"Our recent experience validated our ability to complete each transaction within a few minutes," said Chan.
Priority queues would also be set up for seniors and those who may need assistance.
Welcomed residents to volunteer to distribute masks
The government would also have as many collection counters as possible, depending on the number of local volunteers.
In his post, Chan welcomed residents to volunteer at their local Residents' Committees (RCs) and Community Clubs (CCs).
Chan also said that the government has simplified the process of collection, in order to minimise the time needed per transaction.
He said that residents can help by collating their family identification cards and collecting as a family, rather than turning up individually.
Chan also clarified that domestic helpers would also receive the reusable masks, if they are staying in Singapore with a residential address.
The reusable mask collection exercise will commence from Sunday, Apr. 5, until the following Sunday, Apr. 12.
Top image from Tan Chuan-Jin's Facebook page.