On Tuesday (Apr. 19), a Facebook post of an elderly woman standing at the entrance of Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre was widely circulated online.
The post was accompanied by the caption:
"'Management removed the seat'.
Thats what the makcik said when asked why is she standing all day.
What the hell is this unfairness? She's fasting and the management have the audacity to remove the seat. Which retard made the decision to allow this stupidity."
The photo in the post showed the lady standing beside a small table at the entrance of the hawker centre.
A SafeEntry QR code paper can be seen on the table.
As of 2:45pm on Wednesday (Apr. 20), the Facebook post garnered over 2,800 shares and 402 comments.
Many commenters were outraged by the post, saying that it was unfair for the woman to be standing all day as part of her job.
Chairs seen around the hawker centre
Mothership visited the hawker centre on Tuesday (Apr. 19) night, and found that there were no chairs at the exact spot where the lady stood.
However, a number of chairs were seen close to the entrance but it is not clear if they were meant to be used by the hawkers only.
Chairs were also seen at the third floor lift lobby leading to the car park.
The workers can actually sit down
Mothership visited the hawker centre again on Wednesday (Apr. 20) afternoon and found that the table was removed from the entrance.
The elderly woman was nowhere to be found, but other staff said they worked shifts, and are actually allowed to sit down while handling the SafeEntry checks.
They also said they can take short breaks whenever necessary.
NEA: Personnel not required to stand all day
The National Environment Agency (NEA) subsequently responded on Wednesday afternoon saying that it has looked into the matter.
According to NEA, the woman is one of the safe management personnel engaged to perform Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) checks at the hawker centre's entry points.
"The personnel are not required to stand all day. We understand that the work can be tiring, as it requires staff to be on their feet. Therefore, they are put on shifts and there are scheduled breaks to ensure that they get adequate rest. They have also been informed that they can take short breaks within the hawker centres should they feel tired.
For the case highlighted in the Facebook post, the female personnel is aware that short breaks can be taken within the centre, in addition to scheduled breaks during the shift. We appreciate the hard work of all frontline staff, as well as the concern from members of the public for their well-being."
With the easing of Covid-19 measures, NEA also said manned entry stations at hawker centres across Singapore have been progressively removed.
"Personnel involved are also in the process of being redeployed to perform other responsibilities within the hawker centre, such as reminding patrons to don their masks when not eating or drinking, as well as monitoring cleanliness of the premises," the agency said.
Here's NEA's full statement:Top images via Ryaan Hannafi/FB & Mothership.
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