Covid-19: Singapore to implement ‘strict enforcement’ on dine-in rules; people who falsely declare vaccination status can be fined, jailed

Ahtti, an eatery in Jurong East, failed to ensure safe distancing of at least 1m between groups of customers on many occasions. — Picture by Singapore Food Agency
Ahtti, an eatery in Jurong East, failed to ensure safe distancing of at least 1m between groups of customers on many occasions. — Picture by Singapore Food Agency

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SINGAPORE, Aug 20 — Eateries that fail to check the vaccination status of their patrons before granting them entry could face fines or closure, or both, while patrons who falsely declare their vaccination status could be fined or jailed, or punished with both. 

Sounding this note of caution in a statement today, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) said that from this weekend, “strict enforcement” would be taken against operators and diners who flout infection-control measures that have been differentiated by vaccination status since last Tuesday. 

Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, said that during checks on more than 700 outlets and 2,000 diners last weekend, enforcement officers had identified seven operators that failed to check their patrons’ vaccination status. 

Nine patrons were also found to have dined in before they were deemed fully vaccinated, that is, two weeks after receiving the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

MSE said that most of them had not waited two weeks for their vaccine to take effect. 

Thus far, operators and patrons found to have flouted the rules were given stern warnings.

“As this was the first week of implementing the vaccination-differentiated safe-management measures, operators and patrons were given allowance to adjust to the new (rules) and stern warnings were issued,” the ministry said.

None of the more than 2,000 patrons checked by enforcement officers had falsified their vaccination status.

Right now, unvaccinated persons may have their meals only at hawker centres and coffee shops alone or in groups of two, while fully vaccinated individuals may dine at eateries in groups of up to five. 

Since the rules kicked in, a few eateries have encountered unvaccinated customers who tried to gain entry to their outlets using a screenshot of someone else’s vaccination status, TODAY reported this week.

Since last Tuesday, diners have had to show proof of their vaccination status through their TraceTogether or HealthHub apps, or by scanning their TraceTogether token or showing their original vaccination card.

Infection-control breaches

Giving an update on its other enforcement efforts, MSE said that eight eateries were ordered to close for allowing liquor consumption after 10.30pm, breaking infection-control rules more than once, or committing other breaches.

These include Aloha Poke Bistro and Arteastiq at the Jewel Changi Airport lifestyle complex. 

Both eateries failed, on multiple occasions, to ensure that groups of customers were kept at least 1m apart. They were ordered to shut for 10 days from last Saturday.

H.O.M., a food-and-beverage outlet at Ming Arcade near the Orchard Road shopping precinct, was told to close for 20 days from last Saturday for allowing singing and liquor consumption after 10.30pm. It also failed to minimise interaction between staff members and customers.

The other outlets that were hit with closures are: 

  • Ahtti at Vision Exchange in Jurong East
  • Dapur Penyet at City Plaza in Geylang 
  • Koufu at Yew Tee Point in Chua Chu Kang 
  • Taste Food City at Peninsula Shopping Complex in City Hall 
  • Umami Cafe at Concorde Hotel and Shopping Mall in Orchard Road

Another 22 premises were fined between S$1,000 (RM3,107) and S$4,000 each for breaching infection-control rules, such as failing to ensure that seated customers were kept at least 1m apart.

These include Ya Kun Kaya Toast’s outlets at Marina Square shopping centre and Lot One Shoppers’ Mall as well as Starbucks cafe in Westgate mall. 

Fifty-nine individuals were also handed fines of between S$300 and S$1,000 for gathering in groups larger than those permitted while dining at eateries or failing to wear a mask when they were not eating or drinking. — TODAY

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