Up to five household members can dine in at hawker centres, coffee shops soon

Here are five things to know about the updates to the current COVID-19 restrictions announced on Nov 15.

Alicia Ang

Strength: Memorising lyrics. Weakness: Having least 144 tabs open at all times.

Published: 16 November 2021, 1:09 PM

Up to five people from the same household will be able to dine-in at hawker centres and coffee shops together from end-November, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced on Monday (Nov 15). 

It is one of the new measures that will be implemented amid a slight relaxation of the rules under the Stabilisation Phase, as Singapore continues to open up gradually. 

Several pilot programmes will also be rolled out. The MTF said on Monday that it expects cases to rise once the new measures are implemented, as they will allow for more social interactions. This is part of Singapore’s plan to move into an endemic mindset, with almost 99 per cent of COVID-19 cases having mild or no symptoms and the majority of new cases recovering from home. 

Here are the five new measures that will be implemented in the coming days. 

1. Up to five same household members will be able to dine in together at hawker centres, coffee shops soon

Up to five people from the same household will be able to dine in at coffee shops or hawker centres soon. All five must be fully vaccinated, as dine-in locations are considered high-risk settings for those who are unvaccinated. 

As enforcing these measures are difficult in hawker centres and coffee shops, only those that can put in place efficient checking systems will be allowed to host groups of five. 

Some hawker centres are expected to put in place access control and checking systems before the end of November, while the rest are expected to follow suit thereafter. 

Mr Gan Kim Yong, co-chair of the MTF, said that the “majority of hawker centres” will have the necessary control measures in place. 

Currently, groups of five people from the same household are able to dine-in at F&B outlets. Those not from the same household are restricted to just groups of two and there remains no change to this rule. 

Household members who want to dine together have to provide evidence that they live in the same household – such as using their NRIC or SingPass app. This will be expanded to include the MyICA and SGWorkPass apps.

2. Conferences and live events will have their capacity limits eased

Five current or upcoming events will have relaxed zoning requirements and capacity limits, as part of a pilot that will give more leeway to activities and events for the fully vaccinated. 

Participants might be subjected to PCR or ART tests before the events in order to attend.

The five events are the Milken Institute Asia Summit (Nov 15-16), the Bloomberg New Economy Forum (Nov 16-19), the Industrial Asia Pacific 2021(Nov 22-24), JJ Lin’s After The Rain charity concert (Nov 27-28), and a ONE Championship martial arts event with a currently undetermined date.

The protocol may be extended to other events and settings depending on the outcomes of these five events.

Singapore is slated to host the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 in December too.  

3. Cheaper ART kits to be made available

As current approved ART kits are expensive, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been sourcing for more affordable ones without compromising on quality. 

Currently, each kit costs about $10

The Government has granted approval to the Flowflex ART kit for self-testing, while two more have been approved to undergo the Pandemic Special Access Route registration.

These kits are likely to be significantly cheaper than currently available kits. Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung said that he is hopeful that the kits will be priced below $5 each. 

4. Restrictions on migrant workers will be eased up from 3 Dec

About 98 per cent of migrant workers have been vaccinated and infections in dormitories have stabilised. In addition, migrant workers have to undergo weekly testing regardless of their vaccination statuses.

As such, the Ministry of Manpower has determined that restrictions on migrant workers will be eased. From 3 Dec, 3,000 vaccinated workers will be able to visit any location in their community per day, for up to eight hours per visit. Recreation Centres will also become more accessible. 

Pre-event ARTs remain in place as an added precaution.

5. Five new VTLs will open up

At the moment, Singapore has Vaccinated Travel Lanes with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. VTLs with Malaysia, Finland, and Sweden will open from Nov 29.

Authorities announced on Monday that five new countries have been added to the list. VTLs with India and Indonesia will open on Nov 29, and VTLs with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will open on Dec 6.

Travellers under the VTLs will not have to undergo Stay-Home Notice when they arrive in Singapore. Instead, they have to produce a negative Pre-Departure Test and take an on-arrival PCR test.

You may like these