In a move many Singaporeans were waiting for, groups of 5 vaccinated people will be allowed to dine at F&B establishments from 22 Nov.
However, hawker centres and coffee shops had been somewhat left behind, allowing only groups of 2 since 10 Aug.
Thankfully, they’ll finally be able to welcome groups of 5 patrons who’re vaccinated – but a day later, on Tuesday (23 Nov).
Also, only 18 hawker centres and coffee shops across Singapore will be able to do so for the time being.
In a news advisory on Saturday (20 Nov), the National Environment Agency (NEA) said to qualify for the relaxed measures, hawker centres and coffee shops should have a system to check vaccination status.
To that end, they’ve worked with Town Councils and NEA-appointed operators to prepare vaccination checks at entry points.
However, only 11 hawker centres will have these checks in place on Tuesday (23 Nov). They are:
1. Bedok Food Centre
2. Beo Crescent Market
3. Geylang Serai Market
4. Holland Village Market & Food Centre
5. Market Street Interim Food Centre
6. Sembawang Hills Food Centre
7. Tiong Bahru Market
8. Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre
9. Ci Yuan Hawker Centre
10. Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub
11. Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre
Thus, only these hawker centres will allow groups of up to 5 to dine in.
At these 11 hawker centres, people will be manning the access points to check patrons’ vaccination status.
As usual, entry will be via the TraceTogether app or scanning the TraceTogether token.
Those allowed to enter for dine-in will be given a sticker – similar to the practice at food courts and McDonald’s currently – so no more checks will be needed.
That also means individual stallholders will not have to go through the trouble of checking patrons’ vaccination status.
Those who’re unvaccinated or partially vaccinated will also be allowed to enter – but can only dabao food.
If your favourite neighbourhood hawker centre isn’t on the list, don’t fret.
NEA said the remaining hawker centres should have entry checks in place by 30 Nov.
That means they’ll also be able to admit groups of up to 5.
Before that, the group of 2 restriction will still apply to them.
For coffee shops, NEA has also been working with operators to implement the necessary measures.
That means they can’t be so open anymore – they must cordon off areas and have designated entry points but can’t obstruct common areas like public walkways in front.
Many coffee shops have a walkway running right through them, so doing this might be challenging indeed.
Coffee shops will also have to check the vaccination status of all patrons using TraceTogether.
Perhaps due to the challenge of meeting the requirements, only 7 coffee shops will allow groups of 5 from 23 Nov. They are:
1. Barfood & Co Pte Ltd – 1 Cantonment Road Unit 01-01, S(080001)
2. Goodyear Restaurant Enterprise Pte Ltd – 15 Tampines Avenue, S(529788)
3. Qi Yiang Pte Ltd – 973 Upper Serangoon Road, S(534725)
4. B4RI Pte Ltd – 362 Tanjong Katong Road, S(437122)
5. The Patio – 1018, Sembawang Road, S(758495)
6. Satay By The Bay – Gardens By The Bay S(018953)
7. Makansutra Gluttons Bay Pte Ltd – 8 Raffles Avenue #01-15, Esplanade Mall S(039802)
Surprisingly, among them are Satay By The Bay at Gardens By The Bay and Makansutra Gluttons Bay next to the Esplanade – places most Singaporeans may not consider coffee shops.
Anyway, signs will be displayed at these places to inform patrons of the vaccination checks.
As for other coffee shops in Singapore, NEA said they can allow groups of 5 after they’ve implemented the control measures.
As the vaccination checks will most certainly inconvenience patrons who want to have their meals, NEA seeks understanding and cooperation.
Safe distancing enforcement officers will also conduct regular checks to ensure that the measures are being followed.
Seniors are still encouraged to dabao their food, and better still, ask others to do so on their behalf.
Since dining out was permitted from 10 Aug, the restrictions at hawker centres and coffee shops had been particularly stringent.
Since then, they haven’t been allowed to have groups of more than 2, so even families living under the same roof have had to split up.
Now that a way has been found to allow groups of 5, hopefully, business will pick up for stallholders.
Hawker centres and coffee shops are undoubtedly the go-to everyday dining spots for Singaporeans who desire affordable local food.
So it’s’ undoubtedly good news that families and friends will be allowed to eat there together soon, even if it’s’ just 18 places.
Hopefully, we can look forward to more of these heartland hotspots opening up to bigger groups.
Is your favourite hawker centre or coffee shop among the 18 that qualify?
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