NEA To Provide Up To 90% Funding For Kopitiams Toilet Upgrading 2020

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has just launched a new programme to improve the toilet facilities at coffeeshops, colloquially known as kopitiams, and hawker centres.

Under the succinctly named Coffeeshop Toilet Improvement Programme (CTIP), coffeeshop owners will be supported with up to 90% funding from the NEA on the qualifying costs to improve their toilet design and infrastructure, as well as to put in place a toilet cleaning contract that ensures a deep clean is conducted every fortnight in addition to the current daily cleaning. This is to raise hygiene standards and cleanliness, and to maintain those standards after upgrading has been done in the long run.

Studies have shown that toilet cleanliness in coffeeshops and hawker centres have been decreasing over the years, and a survey revealed more than a quarter of customers would not use public toilets in said places. In addition, more than 3 in 5 customers felt that a “moderate to complete overhaul” of toilet cleanliness was necessary.

In the current pandemic crisis, raising public hygiene standards is a matter of paramount importance. The need for better toilet cleanliness has become even more pronounced as cleaner toilets can help to mitigate the transmission of diseases. This is especially so as coffeeshops and hawker centres tend to be heavily patronised by the elderly in Singapore.


Removal of Smoking Corners and Installation of Tray Return Stations

The CTIP also aims to improve coffeeshop patrons’ dining experience by encouraging coffeeshop owners/operators to remove smoking corners and install tray return stations. Removal of smoking corners helps to ensure that patrons would not be exposed to excessive second-hand tobacco smoke, while having tray return stations encourages a cleaner and more pleasant dining environment for patrons to enjoy.

The amount of funding that the participating coffeeshops can get is commensurate with whether they currently have a smoking corner and are willing to get rid of it:

Coffeeshops owners/operators who remove smoking corners can receive 90% funding, capped up to S$45,000. Those who do not wish to remove smoking corners will only receive 60% funding, up to S$30,000. Lastly, those who do not have smoking corners within their coffeeshops in the first place will receive 70% funding, capped at S$35,000.

Other requirements include the aforementioned tray return racks installation, sending in-house cleaners to a prescribed training programme, and adopting technology such as feedback panels and sensors in toilets.

Full details can be found here.


Eligibility Criteria

This funding support is open to all coffeeshop owners/operators, subject to NEA’s assessment of eligibility. However, NEA will assess applications for coffeeshop toilets which have not undergone renovations for the last 3 years more favourably. The programme will run from 1st October 2020 to 31st March 2022, and applications must be received by NEA by 31st October 2021.


Application Process

Coffeeshop owners/operators can download the application form here. The form must then be filled up and signed. Supporting documents which are required include:

·        ACRA registration

·        Details of SFA issued licence type, licence number and licence expiry date

·        Quotation of costs that would be incurred, including deep cleaning contract (minimum one year)

·        Proposed toilet layout plan and fittings that would be adopted

·        Photos of existing toilet condition

·        Information on last toilet renovation done

·        Layout plan of coffeeshop indicating smoking corner, along with photos of existing smoking corner if the smoking corner will be removed during the toilet renovation period

·        Current routine toilet cleaning programme/schedule

Soft copy of signed application form together with supporting documents to be emailed to NEA_CTIP@nea.gov.sg for assessment. Upon NEA's approval, successful applicant will receive an email notification within a month. Thereafter, successful applicants will be required to sign a Letter of Offer before commencing renovation works.

Successful applicants will then receive the grant on a reimbursement basis, subject to NEA’s assessment of eligibility.

Coffeeshop owners/operators must obtain a Letter of Offer from NEA before commencing renovation works.


Hawker Centres

For hawker centres, NEA will similarly co-fund town councils up to 90 per cent of the cost of upgrading toilets. For more information on the Hawker Centre Toilet Improvement Programme, the NEA may be contacted via their
Online Feedback Form or myENV, or call their hotline at 6225 5632.

Read also: COVID-19: Smart Towkay's Essential Business Survival Guide for This Pandemic

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