Initiative launched to promote good hygiene

As the coronavirus outbreak continues in Singapore, some food and beverage operators are taking no chances, stepping up their hygiene practices to minimise chances of infection.

The GHK @ Khatib coffee shop in Yishun has increased the number of cleaners per shift – to three from two. Staff are also given rubber gloves, and toilets are regularly sanitised and stocked with toilet paper, paper towels and liquid soap.

“I was thinking, if we don’t keep up these good hygiene habits, what would happen if one day somebody here fell sick? We cannot let our standards slip,” said Mr Goh Hung Kwang, chairman of GHK Holdings, which runs 11 coffee shops across the island.

GHK @ Khatib, located at Block 848 Yishun Street 81, covers more than 2,000 sq ft and has five stalls. It has been held up as a model by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC), which yesterday launched a new initiative to promote good hygiene.

Called Keep Viruses At Bay, it encourages operators of premises to step up their cleaning regimes, and urges the public to have better personal hygiene. The message will be promoted through videos and social media posts, and complements the SG Clean campaign kicked off by the National Environment Agency last Sunday.

The initiative is targeting coffee shops, but PHC will eventually work with owners of other premises with high human traffic, such as hotels and shopping malls.

“It’s a timely occasion to remind everybody to have good personal hygiene, and carry out best practices,” said PHC chairman Edward D’Silva, who added that having patrons clear their own trays would help too.

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah met patrons and staff at the GHK coffee shop yesterday.

Asked what her residents’ biggest concerns were, Ms Lee said: “They worry about losing their jobs. And SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) worry about their businesses folding.”

She stressed the importance of maintaining good hygiene.

“The Government has been doing a good job with contact tracing, and forming an interministerial task force. However, if every one of us can do our part – to have a culture of shared responsibility in common spaces, this would surely put a stop to the coronavirus as soon as possible.”

GHK coffee shop cleaner Ho Siew Lan, 55, who wore rubber gloves while wiping tables with disinfectant, said in Mandarin: “Sometimes I joke and say that if we wipe the tables clean, then there will be more customers, business will be better, and our jobs will be secure.”

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