Cover People line up to check in using Tracetogether app at a food court at Marina Bay Sands. (Photo: Getty Images)

Can you access medical and childcare services in malls if you are not vaccinated? Are you allowed to buy food from hawker centres and coffee shops? We answer all your questions below

This story was first published on October 13, 2021, and updated on October 19, 2021. 

From October 13, new vaccination-differentiated entry restrictions that include barring unvaccinated people from entry into shopping malls, large standalone stores and from dining at hawker centres and coffee shop will take effect. 

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This is in an attempt to protect unvaccinated individuals in the community and to reduce the strain on the healthcare system, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) on October 9.

Under the new rules, if you are unvaccinated, you cannot enter shopping malls, large standalone stores that are not supermarkets as well as attractions. These include gyms that are located in these places.

You will also not be able to dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops if you are unvaccinated.

Understandably, there has been a lot of confusion as to how the unvaccinated are supposed to access medical and childcare services in malls, how they are supposed to get food from hawker centres and how it will all be managed.

Below, we answer all your questions about the new regulations so you know how to navigate them.

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When will the rules come into effect?

The new vaccination-differentiated safe management measures will come into play from October 13. 

However, there will be a one-week grace period from October 13 to October 20 for shopping malls to implement these new regulations. 

Can my unvaccinated child still enter malls and dine at hawker centres?

Yes, they can. Children aged 12 and below who are not yet eligible for the vaccine as well as recovered Covid-19 individuals will be considered vaccinated and will still be able to access malls and dine in at hawker centres. 

Can unvaccinated staff members still work in stores that are located in malls?

Yes, they can. However, they will need to undergo twice-weekly Covid-19 testing. This will fall under the vaccinate or regular test regime.

“Such workers will continue to have access to their workplaces, pending a further review of this policy,” said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) in a joint media statement on October 12.

These workers will include tenants and office workers of buildings, vendors, part-time workers, third-party contracted workers, food delivery personnel and couriers.

Can I still access medical services in malls if I am unvaccinated?

Unvaccinated individuals and their caregivers who are seeking medical attention from doctors, dentists and registered traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will be able to enter malls and large standalone shops as long as they provide proof of their medical appointments.

This will take the form of a letter, email, text message or appointment card.

Can I still access childcare services in malls if I am unvaccinated?

If you are unvaccinated and are dropping or picking up your children from preschools or childcare centres where the unvaccinated are not allowed, you must have a letter of support from your child’s school. The letter will give you access to these areas. 

However, exceptions will not be made for unvaccinated caregivers who need to bring their children to tuition or enrichment classes in malls. 

Rather, you should make alternative arrangements such as getting a vaccinated person to bring your child in for these classes. 

Can I still get food from hawker centres and coffee shops?

While the unvaccinated are no longer allowed to dine in at hawker centres and coffee shops, they will be allowed to get takeaway food. 

Hawker centre and coffee shop operators are required to remind their customers that they should not be dining in if they are unvaccinated. 

“We understand from the operators that it’s very challenging to implement a single access point or to have a mandatory, compulsory checking access point. So we have decided to take a pragmatic approach in implementing the (vaccination-differentiated safe management measures) from now onwards,” said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on October 12.

“So at our hawker centres and coffee shops, we require operators to remind their patrons as they walk in, that if they are not vaccinated that they shouldn’t dine in,” she continued.