As the future seems unknown, the presence of COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of many. Here in Singapore, we have experienced some of the most drastic changes in the F&B industry. As such, we can expect new implementations to be made during phase 3 of COVID-19.
However, we need to understand that it is not a return to the pre-COVID lifestyle. Instead, this next phase will involve new ways of working and living, until Singapore has the virus under tight control.
So, what are the new guidelines we should expect?
Safe Distancing Measures
All of us would know that ceasing the spread of COVID-19 can only be done by maintaining a safe social distance. According to the Government of the Republic of Singapore, each person should remain a distance of at least 1 metre apart. This safe-distancing measure remains unchanged during phase 3 due to its significant impact, says Lawrence Wong, Co-chairman of the multi-ministry taskforce.
Unfortunately, this rule often gets overlooked by the F&B industry. Just last month, up to 23 F&B outlets have breached a few of Singapore’s Covid-19 rules. Incredulously, one of those restaurants even served alcohol in teapots after 10.30 pm!
To avoid any ambiguity, here's how you can implement safe distancing in your F&B establishment:
1. Mark out intervals along the queue line (at least 1 metre apart).
2. Mark Xs on alternate tables during service.
Similar to safe distancing, F&B outlets should take into account the number of people present at the location. On the customer’s end, each table can sit up to 5 persons. However, this will be increased to 8 once Phase 3 commences!
On the restaurant's end, a larger area of dining spots will be allowed. This is due to a capacity increase of two zones instead of one! If you are unfamiliar, restaurants are currently only allowed 50 pax per area. Come Phase 3, you will be able to have two zones of 50, giving additional space to accommodate more customers.
With that being said, Safe Entry in all restaurants will remain compulsory. This system is used to prevent F&B outlets from getting overloaded with people. So, ensure that your customers and employees are checked-in using either the Safe Entry or Trace Together App!
Cleanliness And Hygiene
Pretty much self-explanatory. All of us need to practice EXTRA hygiene care during this pandemic. As of Phase 3, there are no new additions other than the continuation of pre-event tests. This includes temperature taking and swab tests (cotton-bud samples) to check whether individuals test positive or negative.
In addition, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states three ways a restaurant can maintain a safe environment.
1. Cleaning and disinfection
Ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly after every service. Do consider disinfection services every month or so to prevent any contamination.
2. Consistent wearing of masks
Both employees and customers should be wearing their masks throughout the day/service. Please remind your customers to remove them only once their food is served and when eating only!
3. Modified layouts and procedures
Change your restaurant's seating layout to ensure sufficient space between diners. Think out of the box for unique ways to do so like this example above!
Bonus! Resuming of higher-risk activities - Nightclubs and Karaoke bars.
Though this may not be implemented immediately once Phase 3 begins, the Government is looking to open up more activities during 2021. One of the most anticipated settings to resume are nightclubs and karaoke bars!
According to Timeout, certain bars and pubs will be allowed to operate this coming December under a two-month pilot program. However, nightclubs and karaoke bars would have to wait a little longer till January 2021 for the pilot to kick in.
Strict safety measures will still be adhered to, including the wearing of masks at all times, even on the dance floor or singing at karaoke lounges. Masks may only be removed when eating or drinking. Similarly, there will be no sale of alcohol after 10.30 pm.
With that being said, keep in mind that all of us have a part to play in alleviating this virus. Hope these guidelines will give you more insight as to what we can expect in Phase 3. Let’s look forward to 2021 and battle against Covid-19 together!