Groups of up to 5 from same household can eat at hawker centres, coffee shops from end-Nov

MOH is working with operators to implement vaccination-differentiated measures in hawker centres and coffee shops. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Dining concessions will be extended to hawker centres and coffee shops to allow fully vaccinated household members to eat out in groups of up to five by the end of November.

In a statement on Monday (Nov 15), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it is working with operators to implement vaccination-differentiated measures in hawker centres and coffee shops. Diners will need to check in via SafeEntry.

"We expect the first group of hawker centres to put in place access control and checking systems before the end of November," said MOH, which added that the National Environment Agency is working with the hawkers' associations and town councils in this regard.

It added that the remaining hawker centres should be able to follow soon after.

As for coffee shops, MOH said the Singapore Food Agency has been engaging the operators and will provide them with the option of putting in place a system to control access and check the status of their patrons.

The list of acceptable documents to check for proof of residence will now include approved government digital apps: MyICA and SGWorkPass, as well as the NRIC and Singpass.

Separately, a pilot scheme has been rolled out to ease capacity limits and zoning requirements for specific events, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic.

Events that are part of this pilot include the Milken Institute Asia Summit (Nov 15-16), Bloomberg New Economy Forum (Nov 16-19), and Mandopop star JJ Lin's two-day live concert on Nov 27 and 28.

Mr Gan said the task force will assess the outcomes of the pilot before deciding how to expand these rules to more settings.

Also speaking at the press conference, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said an update may be provided early next week if Singapore should move on current Covid-19 measures.

These measures were extended on Oct 20 by a month to Nov 21.

Measures currently still in place include a two-person limit for social gatherings.

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Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the "calibrated relaxation" of Singapore's safe management measures last week will lead to more social interactions.

This will mean higher virus transmission and infection cases in the coming days.

"While this is happening, we are also administering more booster shots and more people are also recovering safely from infection and becoming resilient to the virus," he added.

"So this counteracts against higher social interactions and infections, and we hope that overall, the situation can remain in check even if it does not."

The weekly infection growth rate of Covid-19 cases in the community has stayed at around 0.8 to one in the past week, although this is expected to increase as more restrictions are relaxed.

The weekly infection growth rate is the ratio of cases in the past week over the week before.

Mr Ong said stricter vaccination-differentiated measures will hopefully keep the number of unvaccinated infected individuals low and the pressure off hospitals.

Over time, boosters and natural infections will help increase population immunity and bring overall infection numbers down again.

"When that happens, the week-on-week ratio will fall below one again, and this will give scope to implement further relaxation of restrictions," he said.

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