Coronavirus: Bubble tea and other drinks shops will not be reopening yet but can operate from central kitchens

Bubble tea shops will be staying closed for the time being. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Shops selling bubble tea, alcohol and other beverages have been excluded from the list of food retail outlets that are allowed to reopen from May 12.

This means that bubble tea shops, which generated long queues right before their closure, will be staying closed for the time being.

Government agency Enterpise Singapore (ESG) said on Saturday (May 2): "Standalone stores (excluding those in hawker centres, food courts and coffeeshops) predominantly selling beverages must remain closed during the circuit breaker period.

"Online retail of these products is allowed, only if they are fulfilled from the licensed central kitchen of the F&B establishment, if applicable."

Other examples of specialised shops that cannot open include those selling fruit juices, coffee and tea.

Meanwhile, food and beverage outlets that remain open or are going to reopen will have to implement the national digital check-in system SafeEntry by May 12.

ESG said this is to facilitate the efficient collection of visitor information so that contact tracing can be done in a timely manner.

Bubble tea shops, along with various other food and beverage outlets, had to close from April 22 as part of the enhanced circuit breaker measures announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last month.

The enhanced measures were initially set to last till May 4.

But the Covid-19 task force said on Saturday (May 2) that some businesses, including home-based food businesses, hairdressers and dessert selling outlets, will be allowed to reopen only from May 12.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, said: "It will only start from May 12, so we have stated the categories that we will allow to open up from then.

"The individual shops will also be notified, they need to get exemption specifically from the Ministry of Trade and Industry before they can resume operations."

He said businesses that have not been notified by the authorities about reopening should not presume they can do so.

Mr Wong also said the authorities will be selective about which businesses will be permitted to reopen, though he did not give specific examples.

"Largely the position post-May 12 is reverting: it'll go back to where we were before the tightened circuit breaker measures were in place but it will not be identical," he said.

"There are some companies that were operating before which we may not want to allow (reopening) after risk assessment and (due to) the fact that some of these places or entities may not be ready."

The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Saturday that the following businesses will be allowed to resume operations:

a. Manufacturing and onsite preparation of all food, including cakes and confectionery, ice cream, cocoa, chocolate and chocolate products, and other snacks;

b. Food retail outlets, including cake and confectionery, packaged snacks and dessert shops, but only for takeaway and delivery;

c. Home-based food businesses, but only for delivery or collection. Home-based private dining will not be allowed. Delivery and collection of food orders should be done in a safe and contactless manner and by appointment, so order pick-up can be spaced out to avoid people crowding.Details will be provided separately;

d. Retail laundry services;

e. Barbers and hairdressers, for basic haircut services; and

f. Retail of pet supplies.

The list of activities that will be allowed to resume and further relevant information will be updated at the GoBusiness website.

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