TraceTogether-Only Implementation Means SafeEntry For Certain Places Will Be Removed, Says Teo Chee Hean

For most Singaporeans, hanging out in malls is a common pastime during weekends.

Thanks to Covid-19, that’s now more inconvenient due to the need to use SafeEntry to check in to almost every shop in the mall.

In future, however, it’ll be compulsory to use the TraceTogether app or token to check in to malls – but rather than causing more inconvenience, that will actually make our lives easier.

That’s because this way, we’ll just have to check in to the mall once, but won’t need to use SafeEntry again to enter individual shops in the mall.

Mall shopping involves several layers of SafeEntry

Currently, most people must tolerate snaking queues for SafeEntry check-in just to step into any mall in Singapore.

Picture courtesy of an MS News reader

When we finally make it inside, the hassle doesn’t end there.

If we want to dine at an eatery, go to the supermarket or just enter any shop within the mall, we’re required to check in with SafeEntry again.

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If you exit the mall for whatever reason, and want to enter it again, you’ll have to check in via SafeEntry once again despite having left just minutes earlier.

By the time you’ve finished your mall visit, you’ll probably have used SafeEntry dozens of times, and your phone battery will start running low.

TraceTogether-only SafeEntry not mandatory for now

Some places like cinemas have already implemented TraceTogether-only SafeEntry.

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Which means you’ll need to use the TraceTogether app or token to enter via SafeEntry. The normal method of scanning a QR code on your phone or scanning or your IC won’t be accepted.

TraceTogether-only SafeEntry isn’t mandatory for now, as we’re waiting for everybody to collect their tokens first.

However, it’s expected that it will be rolled out in the future.

Some SafeEntry check-ins removed with rollout of TraceTogether-only

When this happens, shopping at the mall will be more convenient for Singaporeans, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He revealed this in a written parliamentary reply to a question from Aljunied MP Leon Perera, according to The Straits Times (ST).

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That’s because once TraceTogether-only SafeEntry is rolled out in all public places, there will be better TraceTogether coverage.

The Government will then remove some existing SafeEntry check-ins.

TraceTogether-only to minimise public inconvenience

Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, said the fewer check ins will “minimise public inconvenience”.

He added that people won’t have to check in to the larger shops and supermarkets inside a mall.

That’s because they should already have checked in with TraceTogether-only SafeEntry to enter the mall.

F&B outlets & gyms will be exceptions

However, Mr Teo said there will be exceptions, reported ST.

For certain establishments, customers are more likely to be in close proximity for a longer time – for example, cinemas.

They may even take off their masks, for example to eat at a food and beverage (F&B) outlet, or pump iron at a gym.

Thus, people will still need to check in when entering these places, even when they’ve already checked in to enter the building they’re in.

Over 20,000 public venues ready for TraceTogether-only SafeEntry

Mr Teo also said that an estimated more than 20,000 public venues are ready to roll out TraceTogether-only SafeEntry.

SafeEntry is currently used at about 40,000 venues, and more than half have already started to allow check-ins via TraceTogether token too.

To help businesses transition to TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, the Government has published online guides.

While businesses will be helped with the transition, they’ll have to start using scanners that’re able to read QR codes, Mr Teo added.

The Government will also be working on solutions to make things more convenient for businesses with high public footfall.

A good trade-off for adopting new system

Moving to mandatory TraceTogether check-in may be troublesome for those who’ve just gotten used to SafeEntry.

But if this will reduce the number of check ins at the mall, it’s actually a good trade-off.

Ultimately, Singaporeans do understand that these measures are for contact tracing purposes, and are supposed to protect us from Covid-19.

Thus, while the usual complaints will surface, it’s just a matter of getting used to this new normal.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook and courtesy of MS News reader.