Group limit for dining-in on track to be raised to 5 in mid-July

The group limit for dining in at food and beverage (F&B) outlets is on track to be raised in the middle of next month to five from the current two.

This is in tandem with the ramping up of the vaccination programme in Singapore and regular testing of workers in higher-risk settings, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

"With vaccination on track, with the regular testing of workers in these higher-risk settings proceeding, we should be able to get there," Mr Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, said at a virtual press conference.

The exact dates will be worked out and some advance notice will be given, he said.

Dining in at F&B outlets resumed on Monday, capped at two diners to a table.

This was after more than a month of stricter Covid-19 restrictions, during which dining in was banned.

Regular, fast and easy testing - where antigen rapid tests are done through a system of supervised self-swabs - will be mandatory from around the middle of next month for staff in higher-risk settings, including dine-in F&B establishments.

The Government will cover the cost of these tests for the next three months, and some larger F&B operators will start their testing regimen earlier.

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said attaining a higher level of vaccination will help sectors such as F&B resume more economic activities.

"I know that F&B operators really hope we can (allow) at least eight people, like what we had before in phase three, or eventually allow 10 people per table, or remove the limit, if we can. So I think we have to move in that direction," said Mr Gan, who also co-chairs the task force.

But he stressed that it all depends on the pace at which Singapore can achieve a high level of vaccination. - THE STRAITS TIMES