Coronavirus pandemic

Businesses ensure safe distancing, contact tracing measures in place

Left: A staff member holding up a QR code for a shopper to complete a contact tracing form before entering FairPrice Xtra at VivoCity last week. Below: A woman getting her temperature taken before entering a McDonald's outlet at White Sands mall yest
A staff member holding up a QR code for a shopper to complete a contact tracing form before entering FairPrice Xtra at VivoCity last week. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Left: A staff member holding up a QR code for a shopper to complete a contact tracing form before entering FairPrice Xtra at VivoCity last week. Below: A woman getting her temperature taken before entering a McDonald's outlet at White Sands mall yest
A woman getting her temperature taken before entering a McDonald's outlet at White Sands mall yesterday afternoon.ST PHOTO: MARCELLIN LOPEZ

Before reopening his hair salon Hairfair today, Mr Augustine Quek spent yesterday afternoon trying to get the QR code for SafeEntry.

The digital check-in system was developed by the Government Technology Agency and logs the entry and exit of employees and visitors into business premises to facilitate contact tracing.

Since he was not familiar with the procedures required, getting the QR code proved a technical challenge for the 68-year-old hairdresser. He said: "It was more complicated than I expected, but it had to be done for the safety of my customers."

Business owners and retailers like Mr Quek had to put in place contact tracing measures - such as the SafeEntry system - quickly, draw up plans to ensure the safety of both staff and customers, and deploy safe-distancing ambassadors at their outlets.

Hairdressers, barbers, home-based food businesses, cake shops and various businesses which had to close during the tightened circuit breaker period are allowed to reopen today.

Even though food and beverage outlets are not required to deploy SafeEntry for customers for now, since they are open only for delivery and takeaway, they must still implement SafeEntry for employees.

Bakery chain Bengawan Solo, which shut temporarily during the tightened circuit breaker period, said that SafeEntry and contact tracing app TraceTogether are already set up for staff. It reopened all of its outlets today, except for the one at Takashimaya Department Store's Food Hall and those in the transit areas of Changi Airport.

Bengawan Solo director Henry Liew said: "We are able to set up SafeEntry for customers if that is required, depending on how things go."

Larger food chains are prepared to roll out SafeEntry to record staff entry and exit. They are also limiting crowds and are ready to deploy more safety and security staff as needed.

A spokesman for FairPrice supermarkets said: "Where necessary, we will also deploy qualified and licensed third party safety and security specialists to assist with crowd control and ensure safe distancing measures are adhered to."

All Dairy Farm supermarket outlets - Cold Storage, Giant, Jasons and Market Place - will have safe-distancing ambassadors stationed at select high-traffic stores, said its spokesman.

Smaller speciality shops, like Taste Gourmet Market in Holland Village and retailer Marks & Spencer, which still operates its food hall, also have similar measures, including SafeEntry, in place.

 
 
 
 

Fast-food chain KFC will be using SafeEntry across all its operating restaurants from today. It has also been recording body temperature and date and time of visit for all staff, delivery partners and suppliers, all of whom are required to download the TraceTogether app to facilitate contact tracing, since last month.

McDonald's, which resumed its takeaway, delivery and drive-through operations yesterday, has made the TraceTogether app mandatory for all employees for contact tracing purposes.

Amid surging demand yesterday, McDonald's customers were directed from its app to a "virtual waiting room" to order via the McDelivery website.

It has also assigned more employees to supervise safe distancing in the restaurants - even though most of its customers were compliant with all the safety measures implemented, including temperature checks, safe distancing and using SafeEntry to check in and check out.

Smaller businesses are also doing their part to facilitate contact tracing.

Ms Delos Oh, 42, owner of Sonder Hair at Shaw Centre, requires her customers to fill in a travel declaration in addition to using SafeEntry. Her salon is fully booked for the next few weeks and will be operating at about 60 per cent of the usual capacity to ensure safe distancing.

She said: "We want to err on the safe side. No reading material - such as magazines - will be provided. We have to be very careful; we can't have our business suspended."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2020, with the headline 'Businesses ensure safe distancing, contact tracing measures in place'. Subscribe