S'pore cuts dine-in cap to 2 as Covid-19 KTV cluster grows; up to 5 at some F&B outlets if fully vaccinated

The rollback of dine-in measures here, currently at five people for all, comes after the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters.
The rollback of dine-in measures here, currently at five people for all, comes after the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Unvaccinated people without valid Covid-19 test results will be allowed to dine out only alone or in pairs from Monday (July 19) to Aug 8, but fully vaccinated people will be able to continue to dine out in groups of five.

However, unvaccinated individuals with a valid negative pre-event test (PET) result may join such groups of five, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday.

People who have recovered from Covid-19 are also deemed to be at lower risk and can dine out in groups of up to five as well, said the ministry.

The rollback of dine-in measures at eateries here, currently at five people for all, comes after the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters that have set back Singapore's efforts to combat the virus, said MOH.

The ministry said in a statement that fully vaccinated individuals will be able to continue to dine out in groups of up to five at food and beverage establishments that have put in place systems to check the status of such individuals.

This is because fully vaccinated individuals have good protection against infection and severe illness, and are less likely to infect others, compared with unvaccinated individuals, it added.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he has received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccine, said MOH.

During a virtual press conference on Friday, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said that this allowance for five vaccinated people to dine together will only be for establishments with mandatory SafeEntry systems in place.

This is so that these venues can check the vaccination status of their customers, said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19.

Members of the same household will be allowed to dine out with their unvaccinated children aged 12 or below, without the need for pre-event testing for these children, but MOH said that this whole group should not exceed five people.

"If the children are not from the same household, then they should constitute not more than half the dine-in group," said MOH.

The ministry added that children below 12 are currently ineligible for Covid-19 jabs in Singapore's national vaccination programme, and it is also more challenging to swab these young children for pre-event testing.

Food and beverage establishments have the flexibility to decide whether to introduce the vaccination-differentiated group sizes, depending on their own operating model and clientele, and their ability to check the status of dining-in individuals, said the ministry.

But group sizes will be limited to two people for hawker centres, foodcourts and coffee shops.

This is because these venues have a "more porous setting" and generally do not impose mandatory SafeEntry check-ins, said MOH. It noted that it would be very challenging to check the status of individuals before they seat themselves at a table.

Entertainment such as live performances, recorded music and video or television screenings will continue to be prohibited at food and beverage establishments.

MOH said that this is because dining in remains a high-risk activity as many people will be unmasked and in close proximity with one another.

"Patrons at food and beverage establishments are also reminded to adhere to all safe management measures and keep their masks on at all times except when eating or drinking," said MOH.

Read next: What you need to know about the tightening of Covid-19 measures from July 19