Coronavirus: Singapore

No exceptions for unvaccinated taking kids to classes in malls

Caregivers can make alternative arrangements: Enterprise Singapore

Exceptions will not be made to allow unvaccinated caregivers of children attending tuition or enrichment classes to enter malls, unlike those going to childcare centres and pre-schools.

A spokesman for Enterprise Singapore told The Straits Times yesterday: "Childcare centres and pre-schools are key services typically required by parents who need to return to work."

Unvaccinated caregivers can make alternative arrangements, such as for a vaccinated person to take the child to class. They can also obtain a valid negative pre-event test (PET) result to enter the mall, the spokesman added.

Unvaccinated people will be barred from entering malls from next Wednesday under the new vaccination-differentiated rules.

Exceptions will be made for those who need access to childcare or medical services within the malls, provided they show proof such as an appointment card or a letter of support.

Children aged 12 and below, unvaccinated people who have recovered from Covid-19 and those with a negative PET result will also be permitted entry for the duration of the activity or service.

A housewife who declined to be named faces six weeks of taking her daughters, aged four and seven, to Bukit Timah Plaza for their art and ballet lessons alone. She also has to shop for groceries by herself because her unvaccinated husband is waiting for his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine next Wednesday.

The 37-year-old told The Straits Times other malls have denied her husband entry, though the unvaccinated can still enter malls during the one-week grace period from Wednesday to next Tuesday.

When ST visited United Square yesterday, unvaccinated persons were allowed to enter. But not wanting his unvaccinated wife to risk being denied entry, Mr Nicholas Lee told her to wait in the car while he ran errands. She ended up waiting 1½ hours.

Mr Lee said: "My wife has just got her first jab but will have to wait three weeks for her second jab, and then another two weeks to be considered fully vaccinated. So, she can go to malls only after more than a month later."

The helpdesk specialist, 34, added that he will have to look after their three children, aged four and younger, when they go out.

He said: "My wife feels left out. It is inconvenient, especially when we need to get necessities in malls, but it can't be helped."

Mall operators said they are helping tenants and the public adjust to the new processes.

UOL, which manages United Square, Velocity @ Novena Square and Kinex, said it has distributed a circular to all its tenants on the new requirements and has made alternative arrangements for tenants with unvaccinated staff. Staff have also been deployed at key entry points of its malls during peak periods.

Head of asset operations at Lendlease Singapore, Ms Jenny Khoo, said it is deploying additional manpower at entry points of its malls, which include 313@somerset and Jem.

Mr Ng Yihang, head of marketing and communications at The Learning Lab, said some students and parents may face challenges. The enrichment centre offers programmes for those as young as pre-schoolers, and has branches in malls like United Square and Jem.

He said: "We are currently fine-tuning options that we hope will be helpful to these students and parents as we work towards keeping our students' learning as well-supported as possible."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'No exceptions for unvaccinated taking kids to classes in malls'. Subscribe