Businesses saw sales drop as much as 70pc during Trump Kim summit
BUSINESSES in the Tanglin-Orchard gazetted areas heaved a sigh of relief as both US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepared to depart on Tuesday (June 12) after their historic meeting in the morning.
The heightened security over the last three days had taken a toll on them, with sales dwindling by as much as up to 70 per cent.
Mr Jack Ang, 35, a supervisor at Photo printing company FotoHub in Forum the Shopping Mall, said sales had been hit by about 70 per cent. “Customers are scared that (the police) can block the roads anytime, especially customers that are driving,” he said. Mr Ang noted that most of his sales come from those with appointments at embassies and that with the gazetting of the area, customers just go “somewhere else”.
A section of Tanglin and Orchard Road covering St Regis hotel, where Mr Kim was putting up, and Shangri-La hotel, where Mr Trump was staying, had been gazetted as a “special event area” since Sunday. Under the gazette order, anyone who is in, or seeking to enter, the area must allow an inspection or search to be made of the person.
The order also stated that anyone in or entering the area must not bring in prohibited items. These include any explosives or arms, any noxious or offensive substance, as well as remotely controlled aircraft systems.
Sales had dropped by between 10 and 20 people per day over the last two days, said Ms Elizabeth Wee, 21, a part-time shop assistant at a toy shop in Forum. Similarly, at Tanglin Mall, a sales associate with hardware store Home-Fix who gave his name only as Darwis saw daily sales dipping by “about S$500 to S$1,000”, with many customers rescheduling the days for them to pick-up their items from the shop.
Walk-in business had dwindled to zero for an aesthetic clinic along Tudor Court. A staff member of the clinic who gave her name only as Radiah, 44, said: “Most of (the customers) had to reschedule the appointments. We usually do have some walk ins but now we don’t, because it is very quiet outside because of (the summit).”
Cashier Loges Vera, 27, who works at Shiraz Kebabs located right outside the Forum said she hasn’t been able to explain to her manager why there is a big drop in the nighttime crowd walking past, and why sales are not coming in. Although the security had cast a pall on most business, a handful had found themselves doing a roaring good trade.
At the McDonalds in Forum, breakfast was an unusually busy time for the staff. There were “suddenly so many journalists here in the morning and many orders, we didn’t expect this,” said a staff member who declined to be named.
However, food delivery had to be suspended for half-hour blocks over the past two days whenever the roads were blocked for the entry and departure of Mr Kim’s motorcade at St Regis hotel.
“The customers were usually angry (with the delay), until we explained to them the situation,” the staff member said, adding that this summit had brought “pros and cons” to the business.
Besides the general decline in sales, the additional security also meant inconveniences for those working in the area, who found themselves having to take a longer hike to work.
The heightened security in the Tanglin-Orchard gazetted areas over the last three days had taken a toll on businesses, with sales dwindling by as much as up to 70 per cent.