On Wednesday (Nov. 10), fully-vaccinated individuals from the same household were allowed to dine in in groups of up to five at food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Singapore.
This was announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Monday (Nov. 8).
However, the new measure was not extended to hawker centres and coffee shops as they are unable to conduct comprehensive Vaccine Differentiated Safe Management Measure (VDS) checks of all their diners.
Situation in Tampines
Mothership headed down to a few malls in Tampines on Nov. 10 afternoon to observe how eateries were coping on the first day of the new measure.
We found that nearly all of the diners were seating in pairs in the eateries at Tampines Mall, Tampines 1, and Century Square.
A few could be seen eating on their own.
Speaking to Mothership, some of the eateries said they had yet to encounter groups of more than two, as it was a weekday afternoon.
Most of the customers they received at the time were working adults on their lunch break, who either ate alone or in pairs.
A staff from an eatery at Tampines 1 told us she was expecting more families with young children during dinner time.
"Since we only have people in twos so far, we don't do any checks to see if they are from the same household or not. When we get groups of more than two people, then we will have to conduct the proper checks," she added.
To conduct checks for proof of residence, customers in groups of more than two people would have to show their NRIC or the Singpass app before entering the F&B outlet.
Mothership stayed around the area until dinner time to see if the situation would differ.
At around 6pm, families in groups of more than two started streaming into the malls.
They could be seen sitting together to have their dinner.
An assistant restaurant manager from Nando's in Tampines Mall told us that they have encountered a few diners in groups of more than two.
For these diners, they had to show their NRIC to a staff member at the entrance to prove that they are from the same household before they were allowed in.
Kenny Rogers Roasters at Century Square also did the same, but one of its staff said that for young children without any forms of identification, they would still be allowed in:
"We let families with young kids in, but of course they must be within the five pax rule lah. It's quite obvious that they're from the same household but of course, we will still check the adults' NRIC.
For the kids, they don't have any NRIC, but we will still let them in with their parents."
The staff member added: "So far we didn't have any issues [with the new rule]. Everyone has been complying well."
A staff member from Fatburger & Buffalo's at Century Square told Mothership that she had encountered a group with more than two people, but they were not from the same household.
"For them, they were separated into twos. They cannot sit together. They tried to intermingle but I politely went to them to say that they cannot talk to each other because of the safe distancing measures."
She added that for groups in the same household, it was "nice to see them eat together".
"Before this, I saw many families had to be separated when eating, so it was nice to see that they can finally eat together as a family."
Despite seeing groups of more than two people dining in together, the majority of diners were still in pairs, even during dinner time.
A SafeEntry ambassador at Tampines Mall's food court said that she had only encountered about 10 families in groups of more than two throughout the day. The rest of the customers came in pairs.
The manager of Volcano Ramen at Century Square said that he was expecting more crowds this weekend.
"I haven't seen a lot of people in groups of five. It's still early lah.
But I expect this weekend to be busy. That's when families would go out to eat and dine in together. So we'll just have to wait and see."
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Top images by Syahindah Ishak.