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It has been a challenging time for Tien Jia Chen, 25. The recent graduate from The Culinary Institute of America’s Singapore campus missed out on a much-anticipated internship in New York City due to the pandemic, and almost couldn’t secure a local placement. And now, there’s the new no dine-in rule that started on May 16 due to the rise in Covid community cases — less than six months after he opened Duke of Congee, a porridge stall at a Bedok Reservoir kopitiam.

“Even though it’s only the third day since the implementation [of the new rules], we have seen a significant decrease in the number of patrons. The amount spent by each customer has also reduced, with fewer orders of additional toppings,” shares Jia Chen.

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