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Home-Based Food Businesses Allowed to Resume Operations From 12 May 2020

TOPICS: Covid-19

1. As announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on 2 May 2020, home-based food businesses (under the Housing & Development Board/Urban Redevelopment Authority home-based small scale business scheme) will be allowed to resume operations from 12 May 2020, subject to the necessary safe management measures being in place. 

Current Restrictions on Home-Based Businesses

2. Currently, home-based businesses in public and private housing can operate only if they meet very strict criteria in the Ministry of Health’s guidelines and the latest provision under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020. 

3. This was necessary as part of the tightened circuit breaker measures to break the chain of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our community.

Resumption of Home-Based Food Businesses

4. In view of the decrease in community transmission over the past month, the MTF will allow selected activities and services to be resumed gradually. This includes the manufacturing and onsite preparation of all food, including cakes and confectionery, ice cream, cocoa, chocolate and chocolate products, and other snacks; as well as the opening of retail outlets of food, including cakes and confectionery, packaged snacks and desserts, for takeaway and delivery only.

5. In line with this, home-based food businesses will be allowed to resume operations from 12 May 2020 for delivery and collection only, subject to the necessary safe management measures being in place. Detailed guidelines are at Annex A. These food businesses must also comply with the Singapore Food Agency’s guidelines, which can be found at Annex B

6. Home-based food businesses will be allowed to accept and prepare ahead for orders that will be fulfilled from 12 May 2020. Home-based private dining will not be allowed. Home-based businesses that provide other goods and services (e.g. jewellery and textiles), and which involve visitors, customers or third-party delivery services at the premises to collect and/or deliver goods, are also to remain closed until further lifting of the circuit breaker measures.

7. Enforcement agencies will take firm action against non-compliance. For home-based food businesses that fail to comply with safe management measures, first-time offenders will be issued composition offers of $1,000, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court. For customers or third party delivery service providers that breach measures, first-time offenders will be issued composition fines of $300, and repeat offenders will face a fine of $1,000 or prosecution in court.

8. A range of schemes have been introduced to help households who face income loss due to COVID-19 and require assistance. A list of the assistance schemes can be found at Annex C.

Remaining Vigilant and Socially Responsible

9. We urge all Singaporeans to remain vigilant and socially responsible to strengthen our collective defence against the virus. Everyone must adhere to safe distancing measures, practise good personal hygiene, and wear a mask when out of home. If everyone does their part, we can continue to keep the virus in check and be on track for further resumption of services and operations.

MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES
2 MAY 2020

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ANNEX A

GUIDELINES FOR HOME-BASED FOOD BUSINESSES

Home-based food businesses are required to strictly abide by the safe management measures listed below. The measures are necessary to limit interaction between sellers, delivery personnel and customers. This will help minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

  • 1. Only delivery and collection of food orders is allowed.    
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  • 2. Only members of the same household (i.e. living in the same address) can work in the home-based food businesses. No persons from another household are permitted to enter the household to assist with the food preparations.
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  • 3. Food handlers are to observe food safety and hygiene practices during food preparation (see Annex B).
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  • 4. Delivery/collection modes may include self-collection by customer, and delivery by business owner and third-party delivery companies. The following safe management measures must be observed:

a. Ensure contactless delivery/collection – A safe distance of at least 1 metre must be maintained between the seller and the delivery person or buyer at all times. Sellers are required to wear a mask (even if at home entrance) during the collection/pick-up. Place or hang the food on the door/gate outside the unit and avoid face-to-face interaction as far as possible.

b. Collection of food must be by appointment only – Collection time should be spread out and only one person (buyer or delivery person) should be collecting at a time. There should not be any bunching up. No one should be waiting or queuing at common areas.

c. Use cashless payment methods – No physical exchange of cash. Use cashless payment methods, e.g., PayNow, bank transfers, etc.

d. Use digital tools to enable speedier contact tracing – The seller, delivery person and buyer are encouraged to download and actively use the TraceTogether app. The Singapore Food Agency may require other apps to be downloaded and used. More details will be provided in due course.

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ANNEX B

SINGAPORE FOOD AGENCY’S GUIDELINES ON FOOD SAFETY & HYGIENE PRACTICES FOR RESIDENTS PREPARING FOOD UNDER THE HDB/URA’S HOME-BASED SMALL SCALE BUSINESS SCHEME

General

  • • Comply with the Home-based Small Scale Business Scheme Guidelines stated by the Housing & Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
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  • • Ensure that all food preparation areas are clean and hygienic.
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  • • Do not keep any pets (such as dogs, cats, etc.) that can roam freely in the house.
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  • • Food are not to be sold in retail food establishments or to/at temporary fairs, as these premises are to prepare the food in their licensed premises or obtain food from approved sources.
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  • • Do not offer catering services, including food stations and stalls at events. Such types of food service typically involve large quantities of food, and is a deviation from the Home-based Small Scale Business Scheme, which is intended for small scale businesses. Also, in the context of small residential kitchens, the large quantities would mean preparation of some dishes in advance. Without proper temperature control of the prepared food, the occurrence of contamination of food is higher. When bacteria are introduced onto the food, they could multiply to harmful levels with time if they are kept in the temperature danger zone of 5°C to 60°C.
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  • • If you intend to prepare food for a larger number of clients, or prepare food in large quantity for each order, you should shift to a proper licensed food premises to operate.
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  • • Persons who handle and prepare food under this scheme are encouraged to attend the Basic Food Hygiene Course (also known as “WSQ Follow Food and Beverage Safety and Hygiene Policies and Procedures” course).

Practise Good Personal Hygiene

  • • Wash hands with water and soap after handling raw food, before handling cooked/ready-to-eat food, after visiting the toilet, after handling waste, and in between tasks.
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  • • Wear a face mask during food preparation and when handling cooked/ready-to-eat food.
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  • • Use clean gloves or utensils to handle cooked/ready-to-eat food.
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  • • Do not handle food when feeling unwell.

Use Safe Food Ingredients

  • • Obtain food supplies from licensed or approved sources.
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  • • Ensure that ingredients used are fresh, stored at proper temperatures and have not passed their expiry dates.
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  • • Clean and wash ingredients thoroughly.

Store Food Safely

  • • Store food in covered containers.
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  • • Store raw food in tightly sealed containers below cooked/ready-to-eat food in
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  • • Keep perishable foods refrigerated or frozen until they are used.

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ANNEX C

ASSISTANCE SCHEMES AVAILABLE FOR HOUSEHOLDS

COVID-19 Support Grant (Open for applications from May till 30 Sep 2020)
go.gov.sg/CSG

Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Open for applications from 27 April)
https://www.ntuc.com.sg/sirs

Workfare Special Payment
www.workfare.gov.sg

Assistance schemes offered by Malay/Muslim organisations
https://www.m3.sg/sgteguhbersatu/initiatives

For more details on ongoing or new support measures, please refer to MSF website below:
https://www.msf.gov.sg/assistance/Pages/covid19relief.aspx#CSG

Operators may also wish to register with the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which is offering support to home-based businesses
https://bit.ly/SMCCI-HomeBasedData

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