From Tuesday, people can no longer dine in at food and beverage outlets, including hawker centres and coffee shops, but they can still buy takeaways, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing announced yesterday.
“For food establishments, hawker centres and coffee shops, the only change is no more dine-in. Takeaways will continue,” Mr Chan said.
“I would like to encourage all to bring our clean containers where possible to help reduce the amount of packaging used and be more environmentally sustainable.”
While a widespread suspension of activities at workplaces has been announced, services deemed to be essential, such as food and beverage outlets, are allowed to remain open.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement that all food and beverage outlets can also offer delivery services, on top of operating on a takeaway basis.
The measures are to reduce interactions outside of the household, MTI said.
For now, the new rule will apply until May 4.
“While patrons and delivery drivers can continue to enter the premises to access takeaway services, there will be no dine-in service, and nobody should consume any food or drinks on-site whilst waiting for takeaway food,” said MTI.
“F&B outlets that remain open must adhere to the enhanced safe distancing measures in their premises, and minimise crowds by ensuring patrons are spaced at least 1m apart at all times.”
During a news conference explaining the updated measures, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 outbreak, said people should head home after running their errands.
They should not sit around at hawker centres to mingle in groups.
“So, that is the key thing that we will be watching out for, and we will have enforcement agencies out and about, watching out for people who continue to gather in groups,” said Mr Wong.
“If there are people who continue to breach these rules, then indeed enforcement action will be taken,” he warned.
The National Environment Agency (NEA), which manages hawker centres here, said patrons and visitors buying their takeaway orders should maintain a 1m separation from any other persons in the hawker centre. They should also follow floor queue markings in front of the hawker stalls where available, said NEA. It also said that all 83 markets managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators will continue to be open to the public.
“Patrons who are feeling unwell or are sick should refrain from going to the markets and hawker centres,” NEA added. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and may implement further measures for crowd control.”