Covid-19 vaccination status at hawker centres, coffee shops to be checked by hawkers
SINGAPORE - A pragmatic approach in implementing vaccination-differentiation rules in hawker centres and coffee shops will be adopted from Wednesday (Oct 13).
There is no need for hawker centres to implement a single access point or mandatory access points, or fence up their premises, given how porous hawker centres are, with multiple access points, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said in a pre-recorded video released on Tuesday (Oct 12).
Having a single access point with manpower to manage it will be operationally challenging, Ms Fu added.
This is especially since Singapore has more than 100 hawker centres and coffee shops, each with a different layout and operational requirements.
Rather, the Government will need stall operators to check the vaccination status of their customers at fixed points, such as their individual stalls, and remind those who are unvaccinated that they are not allowed to dine-in, Ms Fu added.
Under the new measures, unvaccinated people are allowed to buy only takeaway food from these places.
The Government will also be conducting spot checks to ensure that the rules are being enforced.
These enforcement efforts will be selective and pragmatic, and will not inconvenience the large majority of vaccinated diners, Ms Fu said.
"Our enforcement teams will go around and at certain times ask certain selected diners for their vaccination status," she added.
"And if they are not vaccinated, we will advise them and take down their names. If they continue to dine or repeatedly come back to dine-in again, we will then have no choice but to enforce and fine them," Ms Fu said.
The authorities may also carry out inspections at selected hours at certain coffee shops or hawker centres, especially if they are aware of large numbers of unvaccinated seniors gathered there.
"What we are trying to do is really to discourage unvaccinated seniors from mingling in the community spaces. This is to really to protect them from serious illnesses," Ms Fu stressed.
The Government will also be reviewing the seating arrangements in hawker centres and coffee shops, with some chairs removed from the more crowded places, so patrons can sit in comfort and practise safe distancing, she added.
If operators are aware of unvaccinated people dining in, they should remind them not to do so and to quickly leave the premises, Ms Fu said.
There will also be posters and reminders over the public announcement systems to alert the unvaccinated that they should not be dining in.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.