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Covid-19: Fully vaccinated individuals can gather in groups of up to 5, dine in at F&B outlets from Aug 10

SINGAPORE — From next Tuesday (Aug 10), fully vaccinated individuals may meet in groups of up to five and dine in at restaurants and other food-and-beverage (F&B) establishments.

Covid-19: Fully vaccinated individuals can gather in groups of up to 5, dine in at F&B outlets from Aug 10

Diners at Jem shopping mall on July 19, 2021.

SINGAPORE — From next Tuesday (Aug 10), fully vaccinated individuals may meet in groups of up to five and dine in at restaurants and other food-and-beverage (F&B) establishments. 

At hawker centres and coffee shops, people may dine in groups of no more than two regardless of vaccination status, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday. 

And given the high levels of vaccine coverage among Singapore’s population, MOH said that public premises will no longer be required to conduct temperature screening from Aug 19. 

These changes to infection control measures form part of the authorities’ vaccination-differentiated approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare Singapore for a transition towards treating the disease as endemic, or permamently circulating in the population.

“With better protection against infection and severe illness, fully vaccinated individuals may participate in groups of up to five persons in higher-risk activities where masks are removed,” MOH said in its statemment. 

Aside from indoor dining at F&B establishments, these activities include personal care services and indoor high-intensity mask-off sports. 

Non-vaccinated individuals should remain in groups of no more than two persons, to reduce the likelihood of transmission and severe infection, MOH said.

A person will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he or she has received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Comirnaty and Moderna vaccines, as well as other vaccines recognised in the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing, including those made by Sinovac and Sinopharm, MOH said. 

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is co-chair of the Government’s Covid-19 task force, said that Singapore will enter a new phase called the "preparatory stage" from Aug 10, as part of its transition to live with an endemic Covid-19. 

This preparatory stage should last for about a month until early September. By then, the Government expects 80 per cent of the population to be vaccinated, Mr Ong said.

If the number of patients with severe illness are under control and Singapore’s healthcare system is not overstretched at that point, the country will be able to move to the next phase of its transition, he added. 

“This is when we will further open up our economy, social activities and travel, then our lives will be more normal and livelihoods will be better-protected.”

More details will be provided in time to come.

DINING-IN RULES, NO MORE TEMPERATURE SCREENING

Although dining in at restaurants and other F&B establishments is only allowed for vaccinated people in groups of up to five, MOH said that children aged 12 years and below who are not vaccinated may be included within the group so long as all the children are from the same household. 

F&B operators may resume dine-in services for fully vaccinated customers from Aug 10, but only if they are able to ensure that all their customers are vaccinated. If they are unable to do so, they can only offer take-away and delivery services. 

However, hawker centres and coffee shops will be exempted from this restriction, given that these are open-air and naturally ventilated spaces, MOH said. 

With more of Singapore’s population being vaccinated, public premises will no longer be required to conduct temperature screening from Aug 19.

This is because the likelihood of transmission among vaccinated individuals is lower, and the severity of their illness is also likely to be lower, in the event that they are infected with Covid-19, the ministry said. 

In addition, the authorities are able to pick up infections earlier through increased surveillance, the sale of self-test antigen rapid test kits and rostered routine testing with Fast and Easy Tests in higher-risk settings. 

Mr Andrew Kwan, president of the Restaurant Association of Singapore, said that the industry is deeply appreciative of the relaxation of dining-in restrictions. 

“We seek the patience and understanding of both the safe distancing ambassadors and our customers, to grant restaurant teams and crew the space and grace as they endeavour to comply with the latest mandatory measures and rules,” he added.

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