NEA Responds to Allegations That SafeEntry Lady Has to Stand ‘All Day’ at Hawker Centre


With the relaxation of Safety Management Measures (SMMs), it’s up to the Food & Beverage establishments’ discretion as to whether they want to install a SafeEntry entrance point.

For the most part, majority of the restaurants and eateries have chosen to remove the barriers, blockades, cables ties, and tapes, in order to free up the manpower and available seat space to accommodate more customers.

After 29 Mar, up to 5 vaccinated individuals are allowed to share a table, and F&B establishments are no longer required to check their vaccination statuses.

However, they are recommended to perform random and arbitrary checks, especially for larger groups.

Report of SafeEntry Personnel Made to Stand All Day

On 19 April, a Facebook user by the name of Ryaan Hannafi voiced his ire regarding the treatment of the safe management personnel at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre.

A photograph of a lone Malay woman standing in front of a black round table and laminated SafetyEntry QR Code paper was attached.

Image: (Ryaan Hannafi)

The problem?

There was not a single chair in sight.

To make matters worse, it’s currently Ramadan, which means that the woman has to fast religiously.

When Ryaan Hannafi asked the makcik (auntie in Malay) why she was standing there all day, she replied, “The management removed the seat.”

It goes without saying that Ryaan was outraged by this unfairness and ill-treatment, because having to stand a single spot all day, without being able to eat or drink anything due to her religious obligations, almost borders on torture.

The post spread like wildfire on Facebook, gaining more than 400 comments and shared more than 3,200 times in the span of two days.

The netizens were likewise angered, going as far as calling the management “heartless” and “brainless”.

NEA’s Response

Given the traction that the post received, the National Environment Agency (NEA) was quick to issue a public statement the next day.

Its post began by acknowledging the post that has been circulating around Facebook and stated that they’ve already looked into the matter.

It confirmed that the lady was one of their safe management personnel, who was carrying out her duties according to the Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS).


NEA then goes on to explain that because of the shift in the COVID-19 Safety Management Measures (SMMs), the duties of these personnel have also changed.

Instead of manned entry stations at hawker centres, with the typical table and chair set-up plus the stickers to indicate if a customer was dining in, the safe management personnel have been redeployed to more mobile roles within the hawker centres.

Among their duties include reminding patrons to wear their masks if they’re not eating or drinking, as well as monitoring the cleanliness of the premises.

We definitely need the latter, since it’s on us to return our own trays now. 

NEA writes, “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 they are scheduled breaks to ensure that they get adequate rest. They have also been informed that they can take short breaks within the hawker centre should they feel tired.”


Okay, that’s totally understandable; it’s kind of like waiters and waitresses being able to hop into the kitchen or bathroom for a short break or a drink of water when they’re exhausted during service.

Why did they have to remove the chair though?

But that’s beside the point. 

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NEA emphasises that the female personnel in the Facebook photo is aware that she can take short breaks in the hawker centre, and she has scheduled breaks during her shift.

“We appreciate the hard work of all frontline staff, as well as concern from members of the public for their well-being,” NEA adds.

Lastly, the NEA reminds the public to continue complying with the SMMs and cooperate with the personnel as Singapore continues to live with the pandemic.


NEA kindly asks for the public’s consideration if they ever see a safety management personnel sitting down and taking a much-needed break, since they’re working to provide a safer dining environment for everyone.

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Featured Images: Facebook (Ryaan Hannafi & National Environment Agency)