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Covid-19: Coffee shops must designate ‘fixed point’, such as drinks stall, to check patrons’ vaccination status

SINGAPORE — Coffee shops must designate a “fixed point” such as a drinks stall, where staff members can check the vaccination status of customers who wish to dine there, Ms Grace Fu said a day before rules kick in to disallow unvaccinated persons from dining at these places.

Covid-19: Coffee shops must designate ‘fixed point’, such as drinks stall, to check patrons’ vaccination status

During enforcement at coffee shops and hawker centres, authorised officers will randomly approach patrons to check their vaccination status.

SINGAPORE — Coffee shops must designate a “fixed point” such as a drinks stall, where staff members can check the vaccination status of customers who wish to dine there, Ms Grace Fu said a day before rules kick in to disallow unvaccinated persons from dining at these places. 

The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment added that operators will not be required to install barriers to limit patrons to one exit or entry point, acknowledging that it would be challenging for them to do so given that each coffee shop has a different layout just like hawker centres.

Hawker centres have already put in place designated entry and exit points where patrons have to check-in via the SafeEntry contact-tracing system since July this year. 

Operators of coffee shops and hawker centres should still remind unvaccinated patrons that they are not allowed to have their meals there and can only take away food and drinks.

The authorities will put up posters and make use of the broadcast systems at the hawker centres and coffee shops, if available, to constantly remind customers of the rules as well.

“If (the operators) are aware of diners who are dining in but not vaccinated, we urge that the operators would also remind them not to do so and to quickly leave the premises,” Ms Fu said on Tuesday (Oct 12) in comments made available to the media.

From Wednesday, people who are not vaccinated  will not be allowed to enter malls, large standalone stores, attractions, hawker centres and coffee shops as part of the new restrictions put in place to protect them and reduce the strain on the healthcare system.

While a week-long  grace period will be allowed from Oct 13 before the new rules will be fully enforced at malls, it will not be the case for hawker centres and coffee shops.

During enforcement, authorised officers will randomly approach patrons to check their vaccination status through the TraceTogether mobile application on their phones or to provide the TraceTogether token to be scanned.

If they are found to be unvaccinated, the officers will take down their particulars and remind them that they are not allowed to dine there.

And if unvaccinated individuals are found to repeatedly dine out at these places, the enforcement officers will have “no choice” but to issue them fines, Ms Fu said. 

She added that at selected coffee shops or hawker centres where many unvaccinated seniors are believed to be gathering, inspections may also be carried out and more frequent checks may be done at such places.

“What we are trying to do is really to discourage unvaccinated seniors from mingling in the community spaces.

“This is really to protect them from serious illnesses.”

This “selective and pragmatic” approach was taken by the authorities so as to not inconvenience the vast majority of patrons who would be vaccinated, she said.

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In a press release last week, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Food Agency said that mandatory checking of vaccination status at access points of hawker centres and coffee shops will cause considerable inconvenience to the diners and those buying takeaways who are looking for a quick meal.

NEA will work with the hawkers’ associations for stallholders to advise regular patrons who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated, and to refrain from dining at these venues. 

To ensure space and safe distancing between diners as well as stallholders, more seats and tables at particularly congested hawker centres will be cordoned off, if necessary.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this report, it was stated that hawker centres and coffee shops must designate a fixed point such as a drinks stall where staff members can check the vaccination status of customers who wish to dine there. This is incorrect. It applies only to coffee shops. We are sorry for the error.

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Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination dining hawker centre coffee shop F&B Grace Fu

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