Smooth entry to S'pore malls on first day of mandatory vaccination status checks

SINGAPORE – Entry to shopping malls was smooth on the first day that rules barring unvaccinated individuals from entering malls came into effect on Wednesday (Oct 20), following a one-week grace period.

Malls had a week to roll out vaccination-differentiated safe management measures, where customers’ vaccination status will be checked before entry.

Just before noon at Parkway Parade, there were up to 15 people waiting to enter the mall at any one time, with meticulous checks by staff at entry points. Despite that, the queue moved quickly.

Queues were shorter at other malls like Nex, AMK Hub and Kallang Wave Mall, but fast moving as well.

Malls such as Nex introduced fast-entry lanes for tenants and delivery riders picking up food orders at two entrances in Basement 2, so they can check in quickly. The lanes were introduced on Oct 13 – the first day of the grace period.

“This will also lessen any possible congestion at the entrances designated for shoppers to use,” said a Nex spokesman, adding that checking in via SafeEntry will continue to be mandatory at the fast lanes.

Along with signs to inform shoppers of the measures, the mall has deployed additional staff to assist and guide shoppers, to ensure they are familiar with the new entry process.

“As the safety of our shoppers, tenants and staff continues to be our top priority, we are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to make adjustments for a smooth transition when the measures are fully enforced from Wednesday,” added the spokesman.

Those doing checks at mall entry points said customers have mostly been compliant and cooperative.

At Kallang Wave Mall, Teo Yong Qi, 16, – who has been checking people’s vaccination status and SafeEntry for the past week – said there have been attempts by unvaccinated individuals to enter the mall over the past few days.

Mr Teo, who is also a student, said: “Others who wanted to enter the mall were waiting for their vaccination to take effect. As it was during the grace period, we let them in but reminded them of the new rules. They were cooperative, which we appreciate.”

A checker at Parkway Parade, who did not want to be named, said: “Everything has been going smoothly so far. This morning, there was a lady who was unvaccinated and she wanted to bring her children to a childcare centre. We let her in because she had a support letter from the school.”

Unvaccinated people who wish to enter shopping malls for essential activities like medical or childcare purposes will have to provide proof of their medical appointment or a letter of support from a pre-school or childcare centre.

According to the Ministry of Health’s website, those who are unvaccinated can still enter malls if they have a negative pre-event test result or show proof that they have recovered from Covid-19.

Mall visitors ST spoke to, all of whom very fully vaccinated, were welcoming of the new measures.

A sign, showing that entry to malls is vaccination-differentiated, at the entrance of Parkway Parade Shopping Centre on Oct 20, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

People having their vaccination status checked at the entrance of Kallang Wave Mall on Oct 20, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Mr Christopher Lee, 57, a retired construction professional who was at Nex to meet a friend, said the new measures are “in the right direction”.

“Singapore needs to go back to normal, the restrictions for normal human social activity cannot continue indefinitely,” he said. “The hope is that these new restrictions for the unvaccinated will pave the way for more social activity to resume.”

Madam Fion Ang, 43, a manager in the automotive industry said the new rules give her “peace of mind” because she has two young children, aged nine and 11. She was with them at Kallang Wave Mall for breakfast.

“I’m vaccinated so it feels good to be out. I understand why some unvaccinated people may feel unhappy about the new rules at malls, but I think the government is just trying to protect them from the virus,” said Madam Ang.

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