Coronavirus eats into Singapore’s already struggling hawker trade

With dining on site banned, food outlets set up online groups, adopt home-delivery services in bid to survive.

Published by Al Jazeera English, May 5, 2020

Son Melvin Chew, 42, with mother Lim Bee Hong, 63

Hawker Melvin Chew, 42, with his mother, Lim Bee Hong, 63

By Tom Benner

Singapore – Singapore’s hawkers serve tasty, quick and inexpensive dishes which have become a magnet for locals and tourists-in-the-know. But even before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, they were already struggling. And the partial lockdown has only made it worse.

Dining at all outlets from the fanciest restaurants to no-frills coffee shops has been banned since April 7 and is expected to continue until at least June 1.

Hawker Melvin Chew saw his business drop by two-thirds as a result of the lockdown. But Chew was matter-of-fact about it. “Government says you have to stick to your own neighbourhood, try not to go out,” he said.

So when the shutdown order came Chew decided to do something about it. He created a Facebook group called Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 – to help hawkers and customers connect to arrange takeaway food orders and home delivery. (“Dabao” is a colloquial term in the Cantonese language for takeaway). Continue reading …


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