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'Selective' checks on COVID-19 vaccination status to be conducted at hawker centres, coffee shops

Those who breach the vaccination-differentiated measures will be warned and their particulars will be taken down.

'Selective' checks on COVID-19 vaccination status to be conducted at hawker centres, coffee shops

People queue to buy takeaway meals, as tables and chairs are cordoned off to prevent people from dining, at a hawker centre in Singapore on May 16, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Safe distancing enforcement officers will conduct "selective" checks of diners' COVID-19 vaccination status when new rules at hawker centres and coffee shops kick in from Wednesday (Oct 13).

It was announced on Saturday that people who are unvaccinated will not be allowed to dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops or enter shopping malls.

Fully vaccinated people can continue to do so, but only in groups of two. Children aged 12 and below, recovered individuals and unvaccinated people with a valid pre-event test result can be included in the group of two.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people can continue to take away food from hawker centres and coffee shops.

"We seek diners' cooperation to show our enforcement officers the vaccination 'green tick' verification on the TraceTogether app," said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in a media release.

Diners can also provide their TraceTogether token to be scanned for their vaccination status.

Those who breach the vaccination-differentiated measures will be warned and have their particulars recorded, said the agencies.

"Enforcement action will be taken against repeat offenders and those who refuse to cooperate," they added.

There will be signs at the entrances of hawker centres and coffee shops to remind patrons of the new rules. Regular reminders will also be made through the public announcement system where available.

Safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will take a "pragmatic and selective approach to avoid inconveniencing the large majority of diners who are fully vaccinated", said NEA and SFA.

"Our emphasis on selective checks also recognises that there are more than 100 hawker centres, each with varying layouts and multiple access points, and more than 1,000 coffee shops, situated within publicly accessible areas such as HDB void decks," they added.

The agencies said they may focus their checks during peak hours and at "hotspots" with larger congregations of unvaccinated seniors.

Explaining this approach, the agencies noted that mandatory checks on vaccination status at the access points of hawker centres and coffee shops will cause "considerable inconvenience" to patrons looking for a quick meal.

"Instead, NEA and SFA will work with town councils and coffee shop operators respectively, to deploy personnel to verbally advise patrons" on the vaccination-differentiated measures, they said.

NEA will also work with the Hawkers' Association for stallholders to advise regular patrons who are unvaccinated to get their jabs and to refrain from dining in.

SFA will work with coffee shop operators to check diners' vaccination status "wherever possible", such as at fixed points like the drinks stall when they buy drinks, said the agencies.

More seats and tables at "particularly congested" hawker centres will also be cordoned off, if necessary, to ensure safe distancing between diners and stallholders, they said.

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Source: CNA/dv(gs)

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