‘Too risky’ to allow 5 from same household to dine in at restaurants: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE — It is “too risky” for five members of the same household to sit together in a restaurant, said Lawrence Wong, co-chair on the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce (MTF), on Wednesday (20 October).

Speaking at an MTF doorstop interview, the Finance Minister was referring to a request by the Restaurant Association of Singapore to allow up to five household members to dine in at the same table in food & beverage (F&B) establishments. Wong said that while the MTF is looking into the request, it cannot make such a move for now because of the “pressure on the healthcare system”.

The MTF announced on Friday that Singapore will extend the safe management measures under the Stabilisation Phase by another four weeks from 25 October 2021 through 21 November 2021. The Phase, which began on 27 September, was originally slated to end this Sunday.

The MTF announced last month that groups of up to two persons are allowed to dine-in at certain F&B establishments such as restaurants, if all the diners are fully vaccinated. This was a reduction from the previous limit of five persons for dine-in.

The vaccination-differentiated safe management measures were later extended to hawker centres and coffee shops, and for entry into shopping malls and attractions.

Wong said that it doesn’t mean the measures under the extended Stabilisation Phase remain “frozen or static” throughout the entire month and the MTF will continually review to see if there is scope for calibrated easing.

“And in instances where the risks are acceptable in some of these settings, where there are measures where certain risks are acceptable, we will consider moving first on these measures.”

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