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SINGAPORE — A "pragmatic and selective" approach towards diners will be taken at hawker centres and coffeeshops once new rules forbidding unvaccinated individuals from dining-in take effect, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
In a joint press release on Monday (11 October), the agencies said that safe distancing enforcement officers will conduct selective checks on the vaccination status of diners. Checks may be focused on peak hours and at hotspots that have larger congregations of unvaccinated seniors.
Diners found to have breached the new rules will be warned and have their particulars recorded. Enforcement action will be taken against repeat offenders and those who refuse to co-operate.
"Mandatory checking of vaccination status at access points of these establishments will cause considerable inconvenience to the diners and those buying takeaways who are looking for a quick meal," said the agencies. Instead, NEA and SFA will work with Town Councils and coffeeshop operators to deploy personnel to verbally advise patrons.
NEA will also work with the Hawkers’ Associations for stallholders to advise regular patrons who are unvaccinated to get the jab, and to refrain from dining-in. Coffeeshop operators will be asked to check their dine-in patrons’ vaccination status wherever possible, for instance at fixed points such as the drinks stall when patrons purchase drinks.
More seats and tables at particularly congested hawker centres will be cordoned off to ensure space and safe distancing between diners as well as stallholders, if necessary. Alongside signage reminding patrons of the rules, regular reminders will also be made via the public announcement system where available.
From next Wednesday (13 October), only up to two persons per group who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops, and enter shopping malls and attractions.
According to NEA and SFA, there are more than 100 hawker centres in Singapore, each with varying layouts and multiple access points, and more than 1,000 coffeeshops, situated within publicly accessible areas such as HDB void decks.
Meanwhile, operators of shopping malls and large standalone stores in Singapore have been given an additional week to familiarise themselves with the new COVID-19 regulations.
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