SINGAPORE – It is a “mask-have” in these Covid-19 times, and nearly 1.13 million homes have tapped the latest Temasek Foundation distribution drive – which ended on Sunday (Sept 26) – to get free masks.

Under the fifth such distribution effort by the foundation, each household was eligible for 50 medical-grade surgical masks and 25 N95 respirator types at selected CapitaLand malls and supermarket outlets.

The latest exercise was also the first time medical-grade disposable masks had been distributed, in view of the emergence of more infectious Covid-19 variants, the foundation said.

When the month-long drive was launched on Aug 26, more than 100,000 households snapped up their allotment that day, with queues forming more than an hour before distribution began at some malls.

Some people were worried about the lack of stock as the supply ran out as early as noon at places such as Cold Storage in Heartland Mall in Hougang.

Temasek Foundation said then that though collection points could run out of masks temporarily, there was sufficient stock. Residents could visit other collection venues or come back another day.

Noting the “typically longer queues and high demand” during the first few days of the exercise, a spokesman said people could save time by collecting later in the distribution period. Each collection point “is restocked when needed”.

The Straits Times did not see any long queues at three outlets it visited a week before the distribution ended. The collection points at Cold Storage in the Nex mall in Serangoon, Aperia Mall in Kallang Avenue and Sheng Siong supermarket in Bedok Reservoir Road appeared to be well stocked, and mask distribution was smooth.

People could find their nearest collection points – among more than 130 locations – and check if stock was available at this website.

While some had to return to the collection points a few times due to a lack of stock, they eventually managed to collect their masks.

Eleven of the 15 participating CapitaLand malls offered digital queue systems so shoppers could join the queue virtually and check the queue length.

People had to bring along their SP utilities bill to collect the masks.

Temasek Foundation said corporate accounts and commercial properties which do not have an SP residential account – such as serviced apartments, hostels, dormitories and faculty accommodations – were not included in this distribution drive.

Last modified: September 28, 2021