Some F&B chains go back to 2-person dine-in limit, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status
SINGAPORE: With tightened restrictions for dining-in kicking in on Monday (Jul 19), at least 10 fast-food, restaurant and cafe chains have said they are limiting dining-in group sizes to two people, regardless of their vaccination status.
This comes after the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Friday separate rules for people who are fully vaccinated, allowing such diners to continue to dine-in in groups of five at participating food and beverage outlets.
F&B establishments “have the flexibility to decide” whether to introduce the vaccination-differentiated group sizes, said MOH on Friday.
Checks by CNA showed that McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Subway, Long John Silver’s, Toast Box, Carl’s Jr, Nando's, Arnold's Fried Chicken and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will keep to a two-person dine-in limit, citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the risk of transmission. The restaurants made the announcements on their social media pages.
Most said that they planned to keep the two-person limit until Aug 8, when the current restrictions are expected to last until.
Under the tightened COVID-19 restrictions in place from Jul 19 to Aug 8, food and beverage outlets can host groups of up to five people if everyone in the group is fully vaccinated. Groups with unvaccinated people are limited to two people for dining-in.
Dining-in at hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops is also limited to groups of two, regardless of vaccination status.
Children aged 12 years and below, unvaccinated people with a valid negative pre-event COVID-19 test (PET) result or recovered individuals can participate in such groups of five.
Additional restrictions also apply to groups with children aged 12 and below.
The restaurants said that their decisions were made to safeguard the health and safety of staff and customers.
In a Facebook post, KFC said: “This has not been an easy decision especially since everyone has been working so hard to make sure things get better. However, keeping you and our employees safe is our topmost concern and we have decided that this would be best for all.”
McDonald’s said it appreciated that food and beverage outlets were given the choice to decide which protocols worked for them, but decided "this would work best for all of us".
"With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, our customers and staff safety remain our top priority, as we take steps to minimise the risk of transmission within the community," said Toast Box.
"It’s a tough decision but we believe this would work best for all," said Burger King.
In a Facebook post, Arnold's Fried Chicken said that it has decided to stick to a two-person dine-in limit after "much deliberation".
"We seek your understanding and cooperation as we try to do our part in this fight against COVID-19," added Arnold's Fried Chicken.
Nando's said it will be accepting two people per dining group "for now".
"Did the latest safety measures confuse you? It’s alright. Let’s chill out a bit now and we’ll figure it out together soon kay," said Nando's in a comment on its Facebook post announcing the two-person limit.
Dining-in across the island in groups of five had only resumed last Monday, as the number of new COVID-19 community cases decreased in the week before.
The measures were tightened as COVID-19 cases spiked, and a new cluster was linked to KTV lounges. The KTV cluster, which first emerged on Jul 12, has since grown to 173 cases.
Another cluster at Jurong Fishery Port and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre has since emerged, with 63 cases as of Sunday.
Singapore reported 88 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking its total caseload to 63,073 COVID-19 cases.