Seafood in short supply at wet markets

FISHMONGERS at several wet markets around the island were closed, but it was business as usual at meat and vegetable stalls as residents largely stuck to their regular Sunday grocery run.

Crowds at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre, for instance, formed long but orderly lines and observed social distancing when The Straits Times visited.

Stallholder Mariati Rahim, 44, who sells halal beef, lamb and poultry, said business was brisk at her wet market stall.

“This is because of Hari Raya Haji, and we are the only halal stall open now in this wet market,” she said.

The Muslim festival of Hari Raya Haji is tomorrow, which is also a public holiday.

Other stallholders, like a woman who wanted to be known only as Goh, said crowds were slightly better than they were on Saturday, likely because fishmongers there were all closed yesterday and people were less worried.

However, Goh, 69, added that she was worried someone at the market and food centre would test positive and she would have to close.

“If business is affected further, we just have to put up the white flag,” she said.

A 63-year-old sundry shop owner, who wanted to be known only as Ong, also said business was not affected after the Covid-19 cluster at Jurong Fishery Port and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre was reported.

He said: “There are no clusters in our area as of now, and people tend to come and stock up in advance in case things get more difficult to buy if the situation gets worse.”

In Pasir Ris, a resident, Mark Lim, 58, said he was unable to get his usual supply of sea bass, cod and salmon.

Lim, who is an IT consultant, said: “I didn’t manage to get any fish today, everything was snapped up.

“I have been vaccinated, but I am still worried about the cluster.”

Aida, 50, who frequents both the market in Tekka Centre and the market in Pasir Ris, said she bought most of her seafood last week, so she is not affected by the supply disruption.

She said: “But you can tell there isn’t much seafood today. It has also been harder to get other seafood like prawns.

“For those doing their last-minute shopping for Hari Raya, it would also be more difficult for them.”

At the market in Block 505 Jurong West Street 52, meat seller Jessica Tan, 55, said she has not experienced such bad business in her 33 years of operations.

“I’ve managed to sell only about 30% or 40% of my meat today. I don’t know what to do if things continue this way,” she added. — The Straits Times/ANN

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