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Changi Airport and Workforce Singapore allegedly disallow front-line staff from wearing masks

Security staff at Changi Airport were sent a text message that read: “to prevent spreading panic in Changi, no one is to wear mask unless permission is granted”. The message also said that it will “manage” other airport staff seen wearing masks

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Update: Changi Airport clarifies, says “CAG does not restrict the wearing of masks by those on duty at the airport”


(CAG), as well as Workforce Singapore (WSG), have been accused of sending circulars to their staff telling them not to wear masks.

In a tip-off sent to TISG, staff at Changi Airport were sent a text message that read: “to prevent spreading panic in Changi, no one is to wear mask unless permission is granted”.

“The only group of people , at this point, are allowed to don the surgical mask in the course of their work, are the APOs performing temperature screening duties for our client, MOH, inclusive of APOs in Door 4 ops for arriving from China”, the message added.

It also said that it will “manage” other airport staff seen wearing masks.

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Photo: Tip-off sent to TISG

Similarly, during an event in Toa Payoh that was organised by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) as a career fair for the transport sector, staff had the following message sent to them: “staff in contact with members of the public are not to don masks, so as not to send the wrong signal to the public”.

According to TISG’s informer, the message from CAG was to their front line team, and the person who received it was a security officer.

Photo: Tip-off sent to TISG

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Upon checking social media, many netizens also say that front-line staff at the checkpoints have been told not to use masks.

THIS IS RIDICULOUS!IT doesn't make any sense at all. Why are you doing this to our front liners? I was just on the…

Posted by Zarina Jaffar on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Another , Carol CY Ho wrote on Changi Airport’s Facebook page: “It seems that direct employees of CAG, and retailers in CAG and their employees, are allowed to wear masks. But outsourced security personnel are not allowed to wear masks while on duty. Even those tasked to screen passengers on inbound flights from China, especially inbound flights from Hubei”.

She added, “They are THE vulnerable lot”.

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Photo: FB/Changi Airport

A Xiiao Key questioned, “Good morning, as the deadly new coronavirus that’s spreading rapidly in China and beyond. Why aren’t auxiliary (sic) (AETOS / Cisco) allowed to wear masks on duty? They are at the front line”.

Photo: FB/Changi Airport

In reports earlier today, at Resorts Sentosa (RWS), some front-line staff were upset after they were apparently told not to wear face masks at work in they alarm the guests.

TISG has reached out to CAG and WSG for comment and clarification. -/TISG

Update – In response to TISG’s queries, CAG has responded with the following: “As mentioned in our Facebook comment, CAG has not prevented airport workers from wearing a face mask while on duty. But we stand “accused of sending circulars to staff telling them not to wear masks”. We are investigating the source of the WhatsApp message posted in the article as we don’t know where it’s come from.”

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