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NEA Reminds Diners To Return Trays And Crockery And Clear Table Litter As Dine-In Resumes

22 Jun 2021

Singapore, 22 June 2021 – The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for all of us to maintain high public hygiene and cleanliness standards. To strengthen environmental public health resilience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, NEA urges the public to practise good hygiene at our public dining places so as to protect other diners and cleaners, many of whom are also seniors.

2          In May 2021, NEA announced that diners will be required to clear tables of dirty trays, crockery and litter after their meals, starting at hawker centres. With dining-in resuming, patrons at public dining places are reminded to return their dirty trays and crockery, and to clear the table of litter such as used tissues and wet wipes, straws, wrappers, canned drinks, plastic bottles, and food remnants. Diners are reminded that leaving litter on dining tables is a littering offence under Section 17(1) of the Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA). To help diners familiarise and adjust, NEA is taking an advisory approach in the lead-up to 1 September 2021 after which enforcement action will be taken against patrons who fail to heed our officers’ advice.   

Advisory period till end August 2021

3          During the advisory period, Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs), SG Clean Ambassadors, Community Volunteers and NEA officers deployed at hawker centres will continue to remind diners to clear their dirty trays, crockery and litter. Visual cues such as posters and banners will be progressively installed at hawker centres to remind diners to clear their tables. NEA is also setting up more tray return infrastructure across all the hawker centres. While no enforcement will be taken during this period, diners who fail to clear their tables are reminded to comply fully when advised.

Enforcement starting 1 September 2021

4          Enforcement against patrons who fail to heed our officers’ advice will commence on 1 September 2021 at all hawker centres. Enforcement officers will continue to advise diners to properly clear their dirty tray, crockery and litter. Those who do not heed the officers’ advice and leave their dirty tray, crockery and litter behind will have their particulars taken down and be issued a written warning for the first offence. Those who commit subsequent offences may face composition or court fines. NEA will monitor the ground situation and make adjustments over time to the enforcement posture accordingly.

Upholding cleanliness standards at public dining places

5          To encourage operators of public dining places to keep their dining environment clean, NEA is providing co-funding support to coffeeshop and food court operators for the installation of tray and crockery return facilities at their premises and for the purchase of trays.

6          NEA is also installing more than 75 tray and crockery return racks at hawker centres, on top of the 900 existing racks, and improving the table-cleaning workflow. This is done in consultation with key stakeholders, including Hawkers’ Associations, hawkers, as well as cleaning companies and cleaners. In addition, NEA is providing cooked food stallholders with new trays. NEA and our key stakeholders will continue to look at ways to facilitate patrons to return their dirty trays and crockery.

7          NEA seeks the cooperation of all diners to share the responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of public dining places in Singapore. This helps us to transition to a more socially conscious, self-service concept, where diners clear their dirty trays, crockery and litter, and leave behind a clean table for the next patron. We urge everyone to work with NEA to take greater ownership of our common public dining places, and to maintain high hygiene and cleanliness standards at these areas. This will allow us to enjoy our meals in a clean and hygienic environment and better safeguard ourselves against any public health risks.

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