Want to dine in? You have to be fully vaccinated: Lawrence Wong

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·Senior News & Video Producer
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People dine at a restaurant in a shopping mall on 14 May. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
People dine at a restaurant in a shopping mall on 14 May. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Those who are not fully vaccinated could soon be disallowed from dining in at restaurants or using gyms, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (26 July).

Such measures that differentiate between the allowed activities for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons will likely be implemented following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's (MTF) review in early August of Singapore's COVID-19 situation, said Wong, who is also MTF co-chair.

"If you want to go out to dine in a restaurant or work out in a gym, you have to be fully vaccinated," Wong said.

The review will take place at the mid-point of the ongoing Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period, to which the country returned on 22 July following large outbreaks linked to the Jurong Fishery Port and several KTV establishments.

"So if the clusters are under control, and hospitalisation rates remain low, we will be able to ease some of the Phase 2 (HA) measures. But the easing will be differentiated and extended to only vaccinated persons, because they are much better protected against the effects of the virus," said Wong, while delivering his Ministerial Statement in Parliament.

He added that those looking to attend large events or religious services involving more than 100 people would also have to be fully vaccinated.

Mask rules may be 'last to go'

Wong said Singapore's controlled reopening would be synchronised with its vaccination coverage, "not just of the overall population but amongst our seniors, who are the most vulnerable". 

With about 80 per cent of the population expected to be fully vaccinated by early-September, he said the country would then be able to ease restrictions further, especially for fully vaccinated individuals. 

These include the easing of current curbs on sizes of social gatherings as well as travel. 

"With these arrangements, fully vaccinated persons will be able to travel without needing to serve the full 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) in a hotel when they return. 

"Depending on the risk level of the country they visit, we will either replace the SHN with a rigorous testing regime, or shorten the SHN to seven days at home. This will allow them to travel more freely," said Wong.

He noted that those who are not vaccinated will still be allowed to travel but will be subject to prevailing SHN requirements.

Wong said that going forward, the current Safe Measurement Measures – such as maintaining social distancing and wearing masks – will continue to be relevant "even as we transition to a new normal". 

"For example, we would probably not want to do away completely with our mask requirements. We may consider dispensing with masks when outdoors, but it would still make sense to wear them in indoor enclosed environments where the transmission risks are greater. 

"So this may well be one of the last rules to go in the new normal," said Wong.

More Parliament stories:

Singapore 'unique' even among countries with vaccine access: Ong Ye Kung

Penalising those involved in KTV cluster 'would cost us more in the long run': Ong Ye Kung

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