As restaurants in Singapore hit the ground running with dine-in service resumptions in Phase 2, many operators and managers are met with uncertainty surrounding health and safe distancing regulations. To aid restaurants in pivoting to the new normal, Chope and Enterprise Singapore conducted a webinar on 17 June to address regulations and suggestions offered in the multi-ministry taskforce’s COVID-19 advisory for Phase 2 Re-opening of Food & Beverage Establishments.
Here’s a summary of questions posed by restaurants in Singapore on Phase 2 do’s and don’ts:
SafeEntry, TraceTogether, SG Clean, and temperature taking
Is TraceTogether mandatory?
While it is encouraged, it is not mandatory for anyone to download TraceTogether nor have it switched on.
If my restaurant is located very close to the mall’s entrance and diners have already checked in via SafeEntry at the mall’s entrance, do diners at my restaurant still have to check in via my restaurant’s SafeEntry?
Yes, SafeEntry is mandatory for all diners to your restaurant even if you are located within the mall and close to the mall entrance. Note that this is different from food that is ordered from kiosks, e.g. bubble tea stalls where diners are not dining in.
Does my restaurant’s utilisation of SafeEntry replace the need for our own documentation for contact tracing?
Yes, you no longer have to do your own documentation for contact tracing unless you also want your own records.
Do we need to document temperature taking?
Documentation of temperature taking is not compulsory.
At what temperature do we need to refuse entry of diners?
You must refuse entry for diners whose temperature measures 38°C and above. Establishments should advise the diner to seek medical attention before turning them away.
Do we need to document or report diners with a high temperature?
There is no need to report diners with a high temperature to authorities.
Is SG Clean still relevant in Phase 2?
Plans for SG Clean are currently under review by the multi-agency task force and will be addressed later.
One-metre safe distance and five-pax group dining limit
How many guests can be dining at a venue at any one point?
As long as the mandatory one-metre safe distance and five people group dining limit regulations are adhered to, there is no limit to the total number of guests at your restaurant at one time.
Do children below the age of six and toddlers count towards the five diners per table dining limit?
Yes, the mandatory regulation of five diners per table dining limit includes all children. This also includes infants in baby chairs and prams.
For a group of people seated together, is it mandatory that they should practice one-metre safe distancing?
The one-metre safe distancing should be enforced between groups. It does not need to be enforced within groups as long each dining party size is limited to five.
If my restaurant installs plexiglass, plastic sheeting or any other barriers between tables, does that exempt me from the one-metre rule?
No, physical barriers will not be able to replace the one-metre distancing that is required. The plexiglass etc can be used to boost consumer confidence, but it should not be an alternative to the 1m distance that has to be enforced between groups.
If my restaurants have booths that seat diners back-to-back, does that exempt me from the one-metre rule?
No. Similar to plexiglass, such seating arrangements may boost consumer confidence, but will not be an alternative to the one-metre distance that has to be enforced between groups. Establishments must ensure that all dining groups are at least one metre apart, including diners seated back-to-back.
Do diners have to wear masks if my restaurant installs plexiglass?
Yes, diners must wear a mask at all times, except for when they are eating. This is the case even if there is plexiglass installed.
Is seating directly in front of a sushi counter or drinks bar allowed?
This is possible, as long as the configuration facilitates that the one-metre safe distance is adhered to between diners and staff.
For a group of 20 pax in a ROM, can they be seated in tables of 10 persons within a private room?
No, tables should continue to be limited to groups of 5 persons even in private dining rooms.
Does the one-metre safe distancing regulation between dining parties apply to outdoor seating?
Yes, it applies to all, both indoor and outdoor seating.
If my bartenders are not able to work with a one-metre distance between both of them, is that alright?
In situations where it is not operationally feasible to maintain the one-metre distancing while performing their job functions, it is alright. However, all staff should have their masks properly worn.
If I chose to use the bar for serving food, must diners be seated? Must they be having a meal, or can they just consume a drink?
Bar counters are considered higher-risk areas, hence there is a need to reduce diners mixing between groups, and to minimise socialising and mingling. This may be done by seating diners on stools or clearly demarcating the boundaries for each dining area to ensure separation of at least one metre between groups at all times. F&B establishments are also discouraged from offering a drinks-only menu at the bar counters.
Are diners required to be seated for on-site food and beverage consumption? Are standing tables allowed?
With standing tables, there is a higher likelihood of mixing between groups. To minimise mingling and socialising, operators should seat customers on stools, or clearly demarcate boundaries for each dining area to ensure separation of at least one metre between groups at all times.
If my restaurant doesn’t have the resources for contactless orders and payments, do staff have to stand one-metre apart from diners when taking orders and making payments?
Yes, even with physical payments (e.g. via cash), all attempts have to be made to reduce contact. E.g. customers place their money into a dish so that your staff do not accidentally touch their hands.
Self-service buffets, alcohol sale and consumption, and other service restrictions
Is a drinks trolley service permitted?
Yes, drinks trolley would be considered table service. As long as diners do not self-serve, and staff serve these drinks, it would be permitted.
If we serve a bottle of wine to the table, should we leave it on the table for them to self top-up?
It would be ideal if you can help guests with serving the wine.
Will restaurants be allowed to serve the pre-purchased wine after 10.30pm?
Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages must end by 10.30pm. Restaurants should exercise the necessary discretion around the timings for last orders of alcoholic beverages to adhere to this.
Can restaurants continue to operate after 10.30pm?
Yes, restaurants can continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages after 10.30pm.
Why are restaurants encouraged to resume dine-in promotions after two weeks?
The no-promotion measures are a recommendation to reduce the possibility of a large number of diners congregating at a restaurant in the early days of dine-in resumptions. We understand that there would already be pent up demand, and adding in a promotion on top of that may cause unnecessary crowding.
Understand that there is no live music allowed. For pre-recorded music, is there a maximum volume allowed?
In terms of maximum volume levels, restaurants will need to adhere to the noise pollution regulations that apply based on their type of premise as specified under the Environmental Management and Protection Act enforced by the National Environment Agency (NEA).
Enforcement and inspection
What are the procedures and types of documents that must have in place before we can resume our business operation?
No plans will need to be submitted, but a declaration on the number of staff on-site will need to be provided within two weeks on operations on the COVID-19 government business portal.
Does the list of manpower need to be submitted on a daily basis?
No, unlike in previous protocol where staff NRIC had to be submitted, you will only need to update the number of staff who are on-site.
Does the government or regulatory agency have to approve my restaurant’s reopening plan?
No, there is no need to submit a reopening plan for approval. For any queries/clarifications write into email@example.com.
Will there be inspections of my restaurant premises from the government or regulatory agency?
Yes, there will be enforcement officers in place to do routine unplanned inspections to ensure that restaurants are deploying the necessary safe-distancing measures. Additionally, please also do bear in mind that members of the public can also report cases of lapses to authorities.
How long is Phase 2 expected to last?
There is currently no indication as to how long Phase 2 will last. When and how we transition into Phase 3 will depend on the overall number of cases that emerge in the community at this time.
Will regulations continue to be eased within the Phase 2 term itself?
There is currently no indication that regulations will be eased within Phase 2 itself.
Are face shields and hand gloves compulsory for all restaurant staff?
Only face masks are compulsory for restaurant staff. All other PPE are optional.
Are existing regular cutlery allowed to be used or should disposable cutlery be used instead?
Restaurants may use regular existing cutlery while ensuring that they are sufficiently cleaned after each use.
Are venues required to wrap and label cutlery for individuals?
No, restaurants are not required to wrap and label cutlery, but it is advisable to set cutlery when the food arrives, rather than leaving cutlery on table surfaces for extended periods.
Can restaurants continue to serve communal plating, or will we need to portion individually?
Individual portions are recommended, but not mandatory. Communal plates can be served to dining parties within the five-person limit.
Are diners allowed to blow candles out for birthday celebrations?
Yes, as long as safe distance is adhered to.
Is sanitising a replacement for disinfecting which leaves a chemical smell?
No, disinfecting of surfaces should be done with disinfecting agents as prescribed by NEA.
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