Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The stringent restriction measures have placed Singapore in a semi-lockdown mode termed as Circuit Breaker started on 4th May 2020. Singapore has plans to reopen its economy gradually and cautiously in 3 phases. At the time of writing (2nd June 2020), there are a total of 35,292 confirmed cases, 22,466 recovered and 24 deaths in Singapore.
Moving Business Online
Just like any brick and mortar stores, durian businesses have been affected by the Circuit Breaker measures implemented in April through June 2020. This has forced some durian businesses that were not online to move online to provide delivery services or tap other sources of revenue. Digitalisation has also sped up with more businesses using mobile payment services such as PayNow and PayLah.
However, some businesses that do not have the expertise and ability to move their operations online have no choice but to close shop. Most of these durian sellers are rouge sellers from Malaysia that have set up shop in Singapore temporarily to earn quick money. As the Circuit Breaker in Singapore and Movement Control Order in Malaysia hit hard on these businesses, the Malaysian workers eventually returned to Malaysia as it is no longer worthwhile to stay in Singapore when non-essential businesses have to be closed.
Durian sellers such as Parkway Durian that has been providing online and delivery services even before the spread of the coronavirus and the implementation of the Circuit Breaker have benefitted much. As people stay at home, good communication with our customers and the belief of spreading the joy of durian worldwide, we saw tremendous growth in Likes for our Facebook page. Moreover, there were significantly more delivery orders made. As we are located in the East, people from the community still came down to get durian once they know quality durian is available. We definitely need a quick durian fix during this Circuit Breaker period.
Other businesses even more to e-commerce websites such as Lazada. The Singapore government has been very supportive in digitalisation of businesses especially during the Covid-19 period. The government provided one-time support that is capped at $9,000 for SMEs to start selling online.
We have benefitted from the government’s support such as the wavier of foreign worker levies hence we were able to tide over the period and hopefully emerge stronger.
Supply Chain is Intact
Despite the implementation of the Circuit Breaker in Singapore and the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, the supply chain for durian remains largely intact. This has been possible due to the two governments across the causeway agreeing and working on maintaining supply chains. So reassured that the supply chain remains largely intact. Our lorry trucks have still been driving across the causeway to deliver the freshest durians for our customers, friends and family. The greatest determinant for durian supply is still the season and more recently the climate. The durian season occurs between June and September, and December and January.
May everyone stay safe and healthy. Despite the ongoing virus, our mission and dedication have not changed. We are committed to delivering the highest quality of durians, preserving the culture and sharing the joy of durian. We are glad that people are still able to have access to their favourite food such as durian (maybe not bubble tea) and hopefully food can help lift the spirit and make life more manageable.