Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry will consider (i) easing the vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) for dining-in at coffee shops and industrial canteens and (ii) providing financial subsidies to help coffee shops and industrial canteens with compliance costs related to VDS.
The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien): Mr Speaker, may I have your permission to take the next two questions together?
Mr Speaker: Yes, please.
Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien: As part of the further relaxation of safe management measures (SMMs) from 29 March 2022, coffeeshops and canteens can either choose to accommodate up to five persons dine-in without at-entry vaccination-differentiated SMMs (VDS) checks or accommodate up to 10 persons dine-in with at-entry VDS checks.
When VDS at coffeeshops and canteens were first introduced in November 2021, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) received feedback from operators on their difficulties in implementing at-entry VDS checks. The layouts of some coffeeshops were not amenable to access controls and the additional manpower would come at additional cost. Operators suggested to implement time and/or area bound VDS at their premises. This was introduced on 7 March 2022.
Operators who now wish to operate at 10-persons dine-in can continue to choose across any of the VDS options to best suit their operating models. Operators will have to submit their plans to SFA and will receive a response within seven working days.
As of 29 March 2022, there are 237 coffeeshops and canteens implementing the 10-persons VDS. SFA and Safe Distancing Ambassadors will continue to conduct regular checks at coffeeshops and canteens to ensure that VDS requirements are strictly adhered to. The Government will also be providing a one-off cash support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have been most affected by the COVID-19 restrictions and measures over the past year, including the F&B sector, under the Small Business Recovery Grant.
Ministry of Sustainability and Environment
4 April 2022