SINGAPORE - The SafeEntry check in to public venues will become a simpler and faster process from Monday with a new tap-in system.
The new SafeEntry Gateway Box was launched on Tuesday (March 16) at Nex mall in Serangoon Central by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO).
It was trialled at the mall from Feb 15.
Visitors with the TraceTogether app or token can tap their devices on the gateway device to check in.
Another version of the SafeEntry Gateway replaces the physical box with a new feature on the SafeEntry (Business) App on a venue operator's phone.
Users can similarly tap their token or phone against the operator's phone to check in.
The SafeEntry Gateway system is being planned for a roll-out from April 19 at selected crowded venues such as shopping malls, large standalone retail stores, cinemas, hospitals, polyclinics and Mice (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) venues hosting more than 100 participants.
Existing SafeEntry check-in methods using the QR codes and a visitor's NRIC will still be used at these places.
The gateway box works by exchanging Bluetooth signals with the TraceTogether app on a phone or token within a 25cm range.
By holding the TraceTogether app or token near it, the box will beep and show a green light. The SafeEntry (Business) App works in a similar way.
Users of the TraceTogether app have to open the app to check in.
Visitors can currently still use the TraceTogether app on devices and their tokens, and scan their NRICs to check in at venues.
Those with older phones can also scan the SafeEntry codes with the Singpass mobile app or phone cameras.
The gateway system can also tell when TraceTogether tokens are running low on battery power. Users will find they cannot successfully check in when tapping on the box.
The token will display a green light that blinks about once every minute if there is enough life in the battery, which is expected to last four to six months.
If it is blinking red, or when there is no light, the token needs to be replaced.
From next month, token replacement stations will be set up at some venues where the SafeEntry Gateway has been rolled out.
Users can also get their tokens replaced for free at any community club if the battery is flat or the device is faulty.
Lost tokens are replaced at no charge for the first replacement but subsequent reissues will be charged to account for the cost of the token, said SNDGO.
The new SafeEntry Gateway box received good feedback when it was first trialled at three entrances in Downtown East from early October until December last year.
The SafeEntry Gateway is a type of SafeEntry check-in using only TraceTogether.
SNDGO previously said TraceTogether-only check-ins will be implemented "only after everyone has had a chance to collect a token in their constituencies, and a reasonable period of national distribution is achieved".
Currently, close to 90 per cent of residents, or about 4.7 million people, have downloaded the TraceTogether app or collected the TraceTogether tokens.
SNDGO said on Tuesday that more than three million people have collected their TraceTogether tokens.
For now, public venues are not required to implement TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, except for events or businesses that are part of ongoing pilots, such as live performances, cinemas and selected nightlife venues.
By using TraceTogether to enter a venue, the authorities can ensure that if a Covid-19 case is identified, close contacts in those locations can be alerted.
With both the TraceTogether and SafeEntry programmes, the authorities now take 1½ days or fewer to identify and quarantine close contacts of Covid-19 patients, down from the previous average of four days.
In future, only a single check-in with the TraceTogether app or token is needed at public venues like malls.
But patrons need to still check in with TraceTogether-only SafeEntry at establishments where the transmission risk is higher such as at gyms and food and beverage outlets.
For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.