Only two more weeks to leave a mess at the table, Singapore. After that, it’s S$300

Everyone will soon be required to clear their own tables at many eateries or risk a steep fine. 

Starting next month, it will be illegal for diners at hawker centers, food courts, and coffee shops to leave without clearing their tables of dirty dishes and other refuse, the National Environment Agency, or NEA, announced today. Those who fail to do so may be liable under the Environmental Public Health Act for S$300 (US$225) fines. 

“To strengthen resilience in environmental public health amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, NEA urges the public to practise good hygiene at our public dining places so as to protect other diners and cleaners, many of whom are also seniors,” the agency said in a statement today, adding pandemic sensibilities to the issue. 

The decision came after months of campaigning for Singaporeans to clean up after themselves at eateries in the name of maintaining “high public hygiene and cleanliness standards.” 

Singaporeans have three months to get used to the new rule. The agency said it would fully enforce the law starting in September. Even then, first-time offenders will be issued written warnings.

Private restaurants are unaffected.

Officers will be on the ground in June to remind diners to clean up by disposing of used tissues, straws, wrappers, canned drinks, plastic bottles, and food waste.  

It comes with a whole new range of behaviors that Singaporeans will have to keep in mind when supping.

The agency said that while unintended litter, such as that blown onto the floor, still constitutes an offense, spilled gravy or drinks does not. Though, it said diners must keep their tables clean “as much as practicable.”

Cleaners will still be around to attend to dining areas. 

Singapore has been encouraging diners to return their trays through stickers and posters pasted at public food centers for several months. 

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COVID-19: Singapore’s largest outbreak now taking off at Changi Airport

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