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Three options to allow for groups of 5 vaccinated diners to eat at coffee shops, canteens: Amy Khor

Three options to allow for groups of 5 vaccinated diners to eat at coffee shops, canteens: Amy Khor

People dining at a coffee shop on Jul 7, 2021, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore. (File photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: From Monday (Mar 7), canteens and coffee shops here will have three options to accommodate groups of up to five people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to dine in at these eateries while also facilitating vaccination checks. 

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said on Sunday that for these eateries, vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) can be implemented based on area, time or both. 

THREE OPTIONS FOR VDS - BASED ON AREA, TIME OR BOTH

For area-bound VDS, coffee shops and canteens can cordon off a specific area, with access control and vaccination checks, to allow for groups of up to five people to dine in, Dr Khor said in a Facebook post. 

"Beyond this cordoned area, only 2 pax dine in will be allowed in the area where there are no vaccination checks by a staff (member)," she said.

Time-bound measures meanwhile will allow for coffee shops and canteens to have groups of up to five people dining in at their entire premises at stipulated timings between 5pm and 10.30pm daily, with access controls and vaccination checks implemented during these times.

Outside of this time period, only groups of two will be allowed to dine in, Dr Khor said.

The final option will see coffee shops and canteens adopt both area and time-specific measures for groups of five to dine in, if they cordon off a specific area along with implementing access control and vaccination status checks during the stipulated timings between 5pm and 10.30pm daily.

Beyond the cordoned area and timing, only groups of two will be allowed to dine in.

In response to CNA queries, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said that all three new options are in-line with current VDS requirements, which allow only vaccinated people to dine in.

"These VDS options were developed after rounds of active consultation with operators and associations to explore solutions to resolve manpower and operational issues to conduct vaccination checks," said Dr Khor. 

She noted the "porous nature and layout" of coffee shops may make it more difficult for them to implement VDS in its entirety, compared to other eateries. 

The three options provide flexibility for business operations, said Dr Khor, noting they have been welcome by operators who may face difficulties in implementing VDS for an entire coffee shop. 

"For instance, some operators have shared that the VDS checks are most critical during evening peak hours when more family members may dine-in at the coffee shop and are also more likely to patronise stalls such as Zi Char and Mookata," she said. 

Operators interested in implementing one of the three options must submit a proposal to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), to ensure that adequate measures have been put in place to safeguard public health.

Once approved, these operators must display signs and posters to clearly inform diners of the VDS requirements at their premises.

The SFA will continue to conduct checks to ensure that VDS requirements are strictly adhered to, Dr Khor said. 

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Source: CNA/az(ac)

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