October 19, 2021

Singapore’s Food Agency has instigated new rules directed at coffee shops and hawker centres that mean only fully vaccinated consumers are allowed to dine in at coffee shops and canteens. Those who are unvaccinated against Covid can enter only to buy food to take away.

The strict guidelines came in mid-October and, even for the fully vaccinated, eating in is restricted to no more than two people. Singapore has a very low level of covid deaths (below 250) compared to most countries, but infection rates have spiked since September.

SFA says that operators are not required to close off access points or have fixed entry/exit points but they must display signs at entrances to remind patrons about the new rules for dining in.

In a statement, the agency commented: “We encourage all patrons, stallholders and workers who enter coffee shops to exercise social responsibility. Please also continue to ensure that masks are worn properly at all times, and practise good personal hygiene. SFA will step up enforcement checks and take firm action as needed.”

Enforcement action promised by Singapore authorities

Checks on diners at hawker centres and coffee shops are carried out by distancing enforcement officers on a selective basis. As part of their patrols they will randomly verify the vaccination status of diners on Singapore’s TraceTogether app, or ask diners to provide a TraceTogether token to be scanned for their vaccination status.

Checks are likely to be made during peak hours and at hotspots that have larger congregations of unvaccinated seniors. Diners breaching the rules will be warned – with enforcement action taken against repeat offenders or those refusing to cooperate.

There are more than 100 hawker centres in Singapore with multiple access points, and more than 1,000 coffee shops in the city state.

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