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Geylang Bahru Hawker Pulls Down Mask To Taste Sauce, Fined After SDA Catches Him


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Geylang Bahru Duck Rice Hawker Fined After Pulling Down Mask To Taste Sauce On 14 Nov

While it’s mandatory to wear masks when we’re out and about, there are exceptions to the rule, such as when we’re eating or drinking.

On 14 Nov, a Geylang Bahru duck rice hawker apparently pulled down his mask to taste some sauce in his stall.


Soon after, safe distancing ambassadors (SDA) appeared at the stall, requesting to take down his personal details.

The hawker later contacted the authorities to clarify things but to no avail. He was fined $300.

Approached by SDAs after pulling down mask to taste sauce

On 14 Nov afternoon, there was reportedly a long line of customers at the famous Cheok Kee Boneless Braised Duck stall at Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre.

hawker mask finedSource

At around 1.30pm, the hawker, Mr Wang, was busying himself in the stall while his wife tended to customers.


Mr Wang soon realised that the braised sauce was running low and started preparing a new batch.

To taste test the new batch of sauce, Mr Wang reportedly pulled down his mask, reported Shin Min Daily News.

Coincidentally, 2 SDAs walked up to the stall and asked Mr Wang for his personal details. 3 other SDAs arrived soon after.

The SDAs apparently claimed that Mr Wang had violated safety measures by taking off his mask and threatened to call the police if he did not cooperate.

Taking into account the 20 customers in line, and wondering how an escalation might affect his business, Mr Wang obliged with the intention to clarify matters afterwards.

Hawker fined for not wearing mask

The day after, Mr Wang contacted the authorities, hoping to share his side of the story.

But things did not go as planned — the authorities reportedly told him that they have to act accordingly as the SDAs had caught him without a mask.

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Mr Wang shared that he only pulled down his mask for about 10 seconds and initially thought he would get a warning letter.

He was shocked to later receive a fine of $300, which he would have to pay by 16 Dec or face legal repercussions.

hawker mask finedSource

Mr Wang elaborated that he has been running the duck rice stall for 30 years and has always placed a strong emphasis on hygiene, going as far as to wear a hairnet.


He continued that while he and his wife understand the pandemic situation and have taken precautionary measures, he found the harsh penalty unreasonable.

Mr Wang said it wasn’t so much about the fine, which to him was a small matter.

According to him, he has to cook 5 batches of sauce and rice on days when their business is brisk.

If he were to be caught each time he tastes the food, he worried that the penalties would get harsher and they’d be forced to close.

Wanting to avoid such a scenario, he hopes the authorities can clarify such incidents.

Felt that SDAs were going overboard

It is understood that a week prior to the incident, the SDAs instructed Mr Wang and his wife to put on their mask properly when preparing food.

On the day of the incident, the SDAs claimed his wife’s mask slipped below her nose and took down their details. However, Mr Wang insists that her mask had been covering both her nose and mouth.

They were not warned on the day itself before the fine was issued.


Mr Wang added that several customers also found it strange and asked why they were fined.

He also shared with Shin Min Daily News that the batch of SDAs have only been patrolling the area over the past month and questioned if they were going overboard.

Within the Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre, several other vendors’ have reportedly also had their personal details taken down by the SDAs.

MS News has reached out to NEA and will update this article accordingly when they get back.

Hope authorities can iron out such issues

SDAs‘ jobs are crucial to ensuring the health and safety of the public.

However, especially for those in the F&B industries, it is simply impractical to never be able to take off their mask.

Hopefully, authorities can iron out these issues and clarify the instructions for both SDAs as well as hawkers such as Mr Wang.

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