Operators of coffee shops and canteens now have 3 jab-differentiation options: Amy Khor

The three options are area-bound, time-bound, and area and time-bound vaccination-differentiated safe management measures. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Coffee shops and canteens will have three options from Monday (March 7) on how vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) will be implemented to control groups of up to five fully vaccinated diners entering their premises.

The options are area-bound VDS, time-bound VDS, and area and time-bound VDS, said Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor in a Facebook post on Sunday.

For area-based VDS, coffee shops and canteens will have to cordon off a specific area and implement access control and vaccination status checks for diners to sit in groups of up to five.

Dining will be limited to two people in areas beyond this cordoned section, where there will be no vaccination checks.

Time-bound VDS will permit groups of up to five to dine together from 5pm to 10.30pm in the entire premises of the eateries, if similar entry and vaccination status checks are implemented.

Outside of this time period, only up to two diners will be permitted.

The third option allows operators to combine area-based and time-bound VDS. Groups of five diners will be permitted within a cordoned area during the stipulated timing of 5pm to 10.30pm daily, if the required controls and checks are implemented.

Diners will be permitted to sit only in pairs beyond the cordoned area and time period.

Operators of coffee shops and canteens who wish to adopt one of the new VDS options will need to submit a proposal to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) for endorsement. This is to ensure that adequate measures have been put in place to safeguard public health.

Upon approval, operators will be required to display signs and posters to inform diners which VDS option is implemented on the premises. The SFA will conduct checks to ensure that the requirements are strictly adhered to.

In her post, Dr Khor said these VDS options were developed after consultation with operators and associations to explore solutions to resolve manpower and operational issues to conduct vaccination checks.

"We have had several dialogues with the coffee-shop operators and have heard their feedback about manpower constraints and operational challenges that some continue to face in order to implement vaccination checks for the entire premises," she said.

"Due to the porous nature and layout of coffee shops, it may be more challenging for them to implement VDS in its entirety, compared with other food establishments."

Dr Khor added that the new options will provide flexibility for business operations without compromising diners' safety and the current VDS requirements.

Noting that operators had welcomed the flexibility, she said: "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 shops and are also more likely to patronise stalls such as zi char and mookata."

Since VDS was required from Nov 23 last year, 162 coffee shops and canteens have successfully implemented the vaccination checks on their entire premises, said Dr Khor.

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