More than 200 coffee shops, canteens can allow groups of up to 10 to dine in: Grace Fu

People queueing to enter the Ramadan bazaar at Wisma Geylang Serai on April 3, 2022 ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - More than 200 coffee shops and canteens have implemented full vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) to seat up to 10 fully vaccinated diners, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu in Parliament on Monday (April 4).

As at March 29, 237 coffee shops and canteens have done so.

Operators which wish to seat groups of up to 10 can choose any VDS option that best suits their operating model, said Ms Fu.

Since March 29, when Singapore eased its Covid-19 measures as it moves towards living with the virus, groups of 10 fully vaccinated people can dine in food and beverage (F&B) establishments, including hawker centres and coffee shops, where full VDS have been implemented.

Coffee shops and canteens can either demarcate an area within the premises (area-bound VDS), or during certain times of the day (time-bound VDS), or combine the area-bound and time-bound VDS.

"Operators will have to submit their plans to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and will receive a response within seven working days," said Ms Fu.

She was responding to questions from Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang) about the number of VDS proposals received by SFA and adoption of the new VDS, as well as the time that SFA takes to approve the proposals.

Said Ms Fu: "SFA and safe distancing ambassadors will continue to conduct regular checks at coffee shops and canteens to ensure that VDS requirements are strictly adhered to."

Separately, Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) asked if the ministry will provide financial subsidies to help coffee shops and industrial canteens with compliance costs related to VDS.

Ms Fu said the Government will provide a one-off cash support to small and medium-sized enterprises, including F&B businesses, that have been most affected by the Covid-19 restrictions and measures over the past year under the Small Business Recovery Grant.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked Ms Fu if the National Environment Agency would consider allowing pasar malam or night markets to resume.

Ms Fu replied: "We will review this further as we have seen recently Geylang Serai, for example, has a pasar malam... and we will choose to look at such arrangements over time as the situation allows."

On Saturday, the popular and iconic Ramadan bazaar in Wisma Geylang Serai made a comeback this year, having been cancelled the previous two years due to the pandemic. The bazaar is open daily from 1pm to 11pm till May 2.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.