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Diners at a restaurant in Ion shopping mall on August 10, 2021. ― TODAY pic
Diners at a restaurant in Ion shopping mall on August 10, 2021. ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Aug 11 — It was quite smooth sailing for most restaurants and other food-and-beverage (F&B) establishments that reopened for dining yesterday (August 10), the first day that rules for vaccinated and non-vaccinated customers began.

However, there were a handful of customers who had to be turned away because they were not immunised and at least one food court was initially confused over which set of rules it had to follow.

Tan Yi Kai, 31, a manager at Foodies’ Clan at NTP+ mall opposite Lorong Chuan MRT Station, said that the food court only allowed a maximum of groups of two to dine together, including those who are not vaccinated, because the management was not too sure to which type of F&B establishment food courts belong.

However, his management eventually found out that food courts have the same restrictions as restaurants.

So from today, Foodies’ Clan will allow only vaccinated individuals to enter in groups of up to five.

Last Friday, the Ministry of Health announced that fully vaccinated individuals may meet in groups of up to five and dine at F&B establishments.

At hawker centres and coffee shops, people may dine in groups of no more than two regardless of vaccination status.

MoH further clarified after midnight on Tuesday that only the following groups of non-vaccinated people can dine out:

People who have recovered from Covid-19 and have a valid pre-event testing exemption notice

People who have a negative pre-event test result for the duration of his or her meal from an MOH-approved Covid-19 test provider within the last 24 hours

Children aged 12 and below, so long as all children at a given table are from the same household

MoH also said that coffee shops refer to F&B establishments with a coffee shop, eating house or canteen licence under the Singapore Food Aggency. This is different from food courts, which have an SFA food court licence.

In an updated advisory for safe management measures at F&B outlets, the authorities said that only fully vaccinated customers are allowed to eat at food courts.

Other F&B outlets interviewed by TODAY, however, reported a less confusing experience.

Customers were also largely cooperative.

Bernard Tay, managing director at Jinjja Chicken, said that his staff members had to turn away a small number of non-vaccinated customers who thought that everyone was able to eat out.

“After we explain to them, they are quite willing to accept it,” he said.

Other than that, there was not much difficulty implementing the higher cap limit of five vaccinated customers.

For older patrons who do not have smartphones and hence the TraceTogether mobile application, Tay said that businesses were able to use an app to find out their vaccination status by scanning their TraceTogether token.

It was a similar experience at Dutch Colony at NTP+ mall.

Clyde Lozano, 28, who is the cafe’s head barista, said that he and his team even learned how to make sure that what they saw on customer’s phones are not screenshots but their real vaccination status.

He pointed out that there is a “refresh” button on the TraceTogether app that would show the latest vaccination status, if tapped.

Over at Tiong Bahru market, stallholders said that patrons largely followed the new dining rules.

Heng Ah Cheng, a stall owner in his 70s, said that seats at the hawker centre have been taped, preventing people from gathering in groups of more than two.

Fabian Tan, 32, who is the owner of food stall Skirt and Dirt, said that he expected more people to head over to restaurants given the higher limit.

However, the crowds that turned up at the market were more than he expected, despite the lower limits.

Tan added that he has no issues with the restrictions as long as these do not affect his business. ― TODAY

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