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18 Apr 2020 Updated 03 Aug 2020

Premises with confirmed Covid-19 cases to have half of cleaning costs paid for under government scheme

The Straits Times Lester Wong

A town council worker cleans the floor with a high-pressure jet at a HDB block in Fengshan on March 24, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A town council worker cleans the floor with a high-pressure jet at a HDB block in Fengshan on March 24, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI 

Half of the professional cleaning costs incurred by owners or managers of premises with confirmed Covid-19 cases will be paid for under a new government assistance scheme.

The scheme, which is in effect from April 1 to Dec 31, was among a raft of announcements by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Friday (April 17). It will apply to all kinds of premises in Singapore, from homes and offices to food establishments, hotels and tourist attractions.

In a joint statement, the three agencies acknowledged that hiring third-party professional cleaning services to carry out disinfection works can be costly due to the process and chemical products used.

Under the scheme, 50 per cent of such costs will be subsidised, capped at $3,000. A higher cap of $20,000 applies for tourism-related establishments, which are typically larger than residential or commercial units.

Applicants should visit the respective agencies' websites to apply. Homes, offices, religious institutions and food establishments in non-retail buildings should go to the NEA , while all businesses in retail malls should approach ESG.

Hotels, tourist attractions, integrated resorts, exhibition halls and cruise terminals should go to STB.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced last month that the Government would co-fund professional cleaning for businesses with confirmed Covid-19 cases as part of the Supplementary Budget.

Providing an update on the SG Clean quality mark certification process, which was launched in February, the three agencies said more than 9,000 premises have received the quality mark as of Monday.

To enable more to come on board, certification fees will continue to be free this year and next year for more than 32,000 premises.

"Collectively, the assistance scheme and waiver of certification fees for the SG Clean quality mark will help to defray costs for businesses and individuals during this challenging period," the agencies said.

Funding support for cleaning, waste and pest management businesses under the $30 million Productivity Solutions Grant, which helps firms to buy proven environmental services technology, has also been increased again, NEA said.

Successful applicants can now receive funding of up to 80 per cent of the qualifying cost capped at $350,000, up from 70 per cent before.

Funding support was first raised from 50 per cent and a cap of $250,000 in February. There have been 602 successful applications to date, with $8.5 million disbursed, NEA said.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.