Action will be taken against unvaccinated persons who 'repeatedly dine in' at hawker centres: Grace Fu

Spot checks will be conducted.

Jason Fan | October 12, 2021, 07:24 PM

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Enforcement officers will conduct spot checks on selected diners at hawker centres and coffee shops, in order to ensure that unvaccinated persons are not dining in.

This was announced by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Tuesday (Oct. 12).

She gave more details on the latest Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) last week.

On Oct. 13, unvaccinated individuals will no longer be able to dine in at hawker centres and coffeeshops, although they may still enter these locations for takeaway.

Not practical to fence up coffeeshops

Fu said that the government will have to implement the new measures in a "very pragmatic way", given that each hawker centre and coffeeshop have different layouts, and implementing a single access point at these locations may not always be practical.

According to Fu, there is no need for operators to fence up their premises, given that many coffeeshops have multiple entrances, and it is "operationally challenging" to install a single access point.

She said that operators of hawker centres and coffeeshops have a responsibility to help enforce these rules.

"So at our hawker centres and coffeeshops, we require operators to remind the patrons that if they are not vaccinated, they shouldn't dine in," said Fu.

Fu added that the government will have posters in place to remind patrons, and that the public announcement systems will also be used where applicable, to constantly remind unvaccinated diners not to dine in.

Fu said that operators are encouraged to have fixed locations within coffeeshops, such as the drinks stall, where operators check the vaccination status of their customers, and remind those who are unvaccinated not to dine in.

If operators encounter any unvaccinated patrons, they are also expected to tell them to quickly leave the premises.

Take action against unvaccinated persons who repeatedly dine in

In addition, enforcement teams will also ask selected diners at hawker centres and coffeeshops for their vaccination status.

Fu said that if these enforcement officers encounter unvaccinated diners, they will start by advising them and taking down their names, and will only take action if they "continue to repeatedly dine in".

Based on intelligence gathered, inspections will also be conducted at selected coffeeshops and hawker centres, where large numbers of unvaccinated seniors gather in large groups.

"What we are trying to do, is really to discourage unvaccinated seniors from mingling in the community spaces. This is really to protect them from serious illnesses," said Fu.

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Top image via MCI.