The National Environment Agency (NEA) is offering an automatic one-time six-month licence extension to all licensed cleaning businesses with licences expiring between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021 (both dates inclusive). Similarly, cleaning businesses with awards under the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme (EAS) will receive an automatic six-month extension on their accreditation status. This will help to alleviate the administrative burden of cleaning businesses and enable them to channel their resources to focus on meeting the industry’s demands for stepped-up cleaning efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The cleaning business licence  is valid for one year and renewable on a yearly basis. Separately, the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme (EAS) is a voluntary scheme that has been in place since 2012. There are two levels of award under the scheme; namely Clean Mark Silver and Clean Mark Gold. The award is also valid for one year and renewable on a yearly basis.
As of 31 January 2020, there are more than 1,200 licensed cleaning businesses, of which close to 190 have attained the Clean Mark Silver award or the Clean Mark Gold award. These licensed cleaning businesses will enjoy the automatic six-month licence / award extension. Eligible licensed cleaning businesses will receive more information from NEA in the coming weeks on the automatic six-month licence extension and accreditation.
Various ongoing efforts to show care and appreciation to ES workers
As the cleaning sector steps up cleaning and disinfection services, NEA recognises the importance of equipping general cleaners with information on how to protect themselves. NEA has worked with the Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) to develop collaterals, such as infographics on easy-to-adopt cleaning and hygiene tips, and an instructional video (refer to Annex A for the infographics). Employers can use these collaterals, which will be made available on NEA’s website, as supplementary training materials to educate their workers on how to protect themselves and stay safe in their work environment.
NEA is also calling for all service buyers to appreciate the environmental services (ES) workers working at the frontline within their premises during this COVID-19 outbreak period. Under NEA’s INCUBATE  programme, more than half of the 21 INCUBATE partners have either conducted or planned activities to appreciate the ES workers working on their premises. At Republic Polytechnic, where an appreciation event was organised by the Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) and Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) for about 30 companies, the institute and student leaders also gifted $10 NTUC vouchers and designed ‘Thank You’ cards to the ES workers on campus. The students also collected appreciation notes from the school community, which were displayed on campus to show their support for, and solidarity with, the ES workers.
NTUC Club has also distributed care packs to the ES workers during this period to show appreciation to the unsung heroes, in addition to the annual appreciation lunches which NTUC Club organises for their ES workers, as well as providing staff discounts for food and beverages at Downtown East. Other INCUBATE partners such as Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, ITE College Central and Changi Airport Group have also distributed, or are planning to distribute care packs, handmade ‘Thank You’ ribbons and appreciation cards to their frontline workers, including the ES workforce, within their premises.
As the frontline workers play the important role of keeping our environment clean and safeguarding public health, members of the public are encouraged to show appreciation the ES workers in their own ways as well. Members of the public are also reminded to do their part to practise the “7 Habits of Good Public Hygiene”, which include keeping premises clean and pest-free, returning trays and keeping tables clean, keeping toilets clean and dry, as well as binning their litter. Every individual can play a part in helping to keep our surroundings clean, and enable the ES workers at the frontline to focus on maintaining the general public cleanliness and keeping Singapore clean.