Allow Small Home-Based F&B Businesses to Operate with Compliance to Circuit Breaker Rules
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Instead, you can donate here to a fund initiated by Ray of Hope SG to help home bakers in need.
On 25 April, it was published in Berita Harian that HDB has decided that small home-based F&B businesses need to cease their operations. Berita Harian has also released an article about a $1000 fine and Straits Times has announced the new rule on the morning of 26 April here: https://str.sg/JMbb
Nonetheless, we hope that this petition will make HDB revise their approach to handling home-based businesses in light of the pandemic situation.
We shouldn’t always look to prohibitions and bans as the immediate and best way to handle the spread of the pandemic, especially when it involves the livelihood of small-income families.
With the circuit breaker measures already in place for 3 weeks now, it is high time to allow home-based businesses to adapt their operations around the measures rather than prohibiting them from operating altogether.
Essential services have still been operating and registered couriers have also been able to deliver items with strict restrictions here and there. So, arguably the same approach could be taken for small home-based F&B operations.
The measure issued by HDB today is causing a lot more trouble than is being accounted for - with these home-based businesses being ceased, families are facing even more financial constrains, their cooking supplies are in surplus culminating costs with no profits in the months of quarantine to come.
Our stand is that small home-based businesses can and should continue operating with as little impact on the circuit break rules as possible. Mainly by complying to these measures:
- Adherence to food hygiene rules as stipulated by Singapore Food Agency under the HDB/URA's Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme (Updated February 2020)
- Implementing social distancing measures when executing deliveries:
For pick-ups: This should be treated like an Essential Service so customers should be allowed to pick up their food the same way that they would go to the grocery store to buy their essentials, i.e. alone, with face mask and without any unnecessary loitering.
This is already part of the regulations for essential F&B establishments that are allowed to continue operating.
Alternatively, home-based sellers could call a GrabExpress to deliver their treats to the customers. So as to not breach social distancing efforts, there should be no mass deliveries allowed, i.e. there can only be one delivery guy to one destination.
Avoid face-to-face deals by leaving the packages outside their homes, right when they are notified by the deliverer’s arrival. To ensure hygiene standards continue to be adhered to, sellers must make sure the food is contained and sealed properly, placed on a surface elevated from the floor, away from shoe racks and anything else that is unhygienic. Lastly, the food should not be left outside for longer than a minute so sellers and deliverers must be in close correspondence via phone or text.
TAKE FURTHER ACTION: Besides signing the petition, you can also share with us the stories and testimonials of people who have been affected by this ban. This can also be your own personal stories. They will not be shared with the public.
They will be used as data for future correspondences with the relevant authorities. Hopefully, with enough testimonials and petition signers, HDB will have the heart to take meaningful action and help the small business owners during this difficult time.
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