One-week grace period given before mall entry rules kick in for unvaccinated people

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Singapore are working closely with mall operators to allow tenants, mall operators, and the public to familiarise themselves with the new processes and checks. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - There will be a week's grace period from Oct 13 to 19 for mall operators and others to become familiar with differentiated safe management measures to be implemented in malls.

This will include a framework to allow unvaccinated people access to childcare and medical services in these buildings.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Sunday (Oct 10) that they are aware of concerns raised by the public on the need for some unvaccinated individuals to access medical and childcare-related services in malls.

"We would like to assure members of the public that MTI and ESG are working closely with mall operators to allow tenants, mall operators, and the public to familiarise themselves with the new processes and checks," they said.

Last Saturday, the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) tackling Covid-19 announced an expansion of vaccination-differentiated safe management measures which will no longer allow unvaccinated people to dine-in or enter malls and large standalone stores.

Large standalone supermarkets will be exempted from these measures.

Exclusions also apply to those who are aged 12 and below, those who have recovered from Covid-19, and unvaccinated people with a valid pre-event Covid-19 test result.

The MTF said last Saturday that the measures will take effect on Wednesday (Oct 13) and are to protect unvaccinated people and reduce the strain on Singapore's healthcare system.

In their statement on Sunday, MTI and ESG said more details will be provided before Wednesday.

"We seek everyone's support to observe safe management measures and cooperate with the malls as they implement the safe management measures. This will help lower transmission risks and slow down the pace of community infections in this stabilisation phase."

Some business owners have also asked if unvaccinated employees will be allowed to enter malls for work, as not allowing them to do so could create manpower constraints.

Ms Christina Lim, 63, who is a caregiver to parents in their 90s, said a list of standalone supermarkets should be provided, as she foresees that some elderly people may need help with groceries if they are unable to pop into nearby malls which have supermarkets.

Though she is fully vaccinated, she asked whether there will be exclusions for those with valid reasons for not getting vaccinated - such as people with known allergies to mRNA vaccines.

"I am worried that the loneliness and lack of socialisation for elderly people will see a further deterioration in their general health, especially if they live alone," she said.

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