Covid-19: Malls, cinemas, other crowded venues in Singapore must roll out check-ins with new SafeEntry Gateway from April 19

SafeEntry Gateway, a new check-in method for TraceTogether app and token users. ― TODAY pic
SafeEntry Gateway, a new check-in method for TraceTogether app and token users. ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, March 16 — From April 19, operators of venues with high human traffic flow, such as shopping complexes, supermarkets and cinemas, must install a new device that checks in patrons, to control the spread of Covid-19.

The SafeEntry Gateway device allows the public to check into venues by bringing their TraceTogether contact-tracing tokens or mobile phones with the TraceTogether mobile application near the receiver, much like how one uses an Ez-Link transit card on public transport.

SafeEntry is the national digital check-in system that logs the particulars of individuals visiting public places for the purpose of contact tracing. 

Other places that must roll out the SafeEntry Gateway include public libraries, hospitals and places of worship with services holding more than 100 people. 

Other check-in modes using QR (quick response) codes or identity cards will remain in place at these venues for users who prefer to use them or who have older mobile phones that may not be compatible with the SafeEntry Gateway, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) said today (March 16).

SNDGO, a department under the Prime Minister’s Office, said businesses may choose to deploy the SafeEntry Gateway through a physical SafeEntry Gateway box or the SafeEntry Gateway function on the SafeEntry (Business) mobile app.

How it works

To use the new SafeEntry Gateway, patrons may bring their TraceTogether tokens within 1cm to 25cm of the receiver or mobile device at a check-in counter.

Those with the TraceTogether app can bring their mobile phones within 1cm to 25cm of the box or the operator’s mobile device, with the app open.

The gateway records check-ins by exchanging Bluetooth signals with the devices. 

When the SafeEntry Gateway box shows a green light and lets off a beep, or when a green screen appears on the operator’s SafeEntry app, the person is checked in. 

Patrons may also use the new SafeEntry Gateway to check if their TraceTogether tokens need to be replaced because they are no longer transmitting Bluetooth signals. The tokens exchange Bluetooth signals with other tokens or TraceTogether apps nearby, to identify close contacts of coronavirus patients.  

From next month, token replacement stations will be set up at some venues with the SafeEntry Gateway installed. Those with tokens detected to be faulty or out of battery may get them replaced on the spot. SNDGO is working out the details of these stations.

Increased convenience

Developed by the Government Technology Agency, the SafeEntry Gateway has been tested at the Downtown East entertainment hub in Pasir Ris since October last year and the Nex shopping centre in Serangoon since Feb 15 this year. 

Speaking to TODAY today, visitors to Nex said they preferred checking themselves into the mall with the SafeEntry Gateway, as it is more convenient.

Retiree TS Fong, 72, said that the device picks up signals from and scans her TraceTogether token in a matter of seconds.

Another visitor, who wanted to be known only as Bek, 64, said he liked the new method of checking in because it is quick and efficient.

Businesses may apply for device

SNDGO said business operators who prefer the SafeEntry Gateway boxes may apply to receive them via the SafeEntry website. Each box costs S$80, and every operator may get up to four boxes for free. 

Should they need more than four devices, they can file an appeal with the authorities.

Appeals take about a week to process, SNDGO said in response to queries from reporters at a demonstration of the check-in device today.

SNDGO was unable to provide the total cost of the project. 

Operators wishing to use the SafeEntry Gateway function may download the free SafeEntry (Business) app on the Google Play or Apple app stores. 

Operators may check the SafeEntry website to find out if they are among the businesses required to deploy the new device from next month. ― TODAY

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