International COVID 19 Health food store owner unfazed by complaint over food tasting, lack of...

Health food store owner unfazed by complaint over food tasting, lack of safe distancing

“It’s OK, let them do what they want. My business will continue to prosper,” said the unperturbed owner of the Eng San Ginseng & Birdnest store




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Singapore—After a complaint was posted about the food sampling at a health food store in Bencoolen, the owner simply said, “It’s OK, let them do what they want. My business will continue to prosper.”

On Jan 31, a woman named Viola Loke took to Facebook concerning the food tasting and lack of safe distancing measures she had seen at Eng San Ginseng & Birdnest in Bencoolen.

Food tasting onsite is not allowed due to the pandemic. An Advisory for Phase 3 Re-opening of Food & Beverage Establishments reads “Any communal amenities (e.g. drink dispensers and common condiments) must not be used. Self-service food samples must not be provided.”

And while in-store food sampling is disallowed for now, shop owners can give out food samples that are individually packed.

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Ms Loke had written in her post that Eng San Ginseng & Birdnest should be avoided as it might end up being a “potential COVID-19 cluster.”

She wrote that not only did the shop have no one-meter safe distancing between patrons, but it allowed “customers to sample all their dried food.”

Posting photos of the shop at Bencoolen, she wrote, “It was observed that customers removed their masks and put their hands freely into the bags and bags of dried food, happily sampling away and discussing which is nice.

OMG!!! Can you imagine their hands contaminated with their saliva touching all the dried food there??? The shopkeepers were aware but none of them were stopping the customers.”

To make things worse, she added that the sales staff did not wear masks “properly” while they served customers.

“One of them was seen wearing his mask below his chin and another China staff did not have his nose covered!”

In comparison, at a similar shop she visited nearby, Ms Loke wrote that the shopkeepers were the opposite.

“They stopped all customers from sampling and warned customers not to remove their masks at all time.(sic) Their dried food were (sic) covered up with a plastic sheet to prevent customers from sampling and there were signs posted everywhere to inform customers no sampling allowed.”

However, when media site Coconuts spoke to the owner of Eng San Ginseng & Birdnest, he was not overly concerned.

He said that he has allowed patrons to put their hands into the bags containing snacks for two decades now.

The negative comments online did not cause him any worry, Mr Lee Yam Poh, age 80, told Coconuts.

“I’ve been in this business for 20 years. We have covers on all our food. If they sample it and are satisfied with my food then they will buy. It’s OK, let them do what they want. My business will continue to prosper.”


Read also: Pre-CNY Chinatown crowds spark fears of Covid spread

Pre-CNY Chinatown crowds spark fears of Covid spread


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