Social distancing, the preventive measure that introverts have been practising for life, is now coming into full force.
And with the news that anyone who flouts social distancing rules in malls, stores, or eateries could face harsh penalties, some are wondering why they can’t sit with their significant other or family even though they live in the same house.
Well, fortunately for you, this isn’t true.
Confusion Cleared: Family Members or Couples Can Sit at The Same Table in Hawker Centre With New Measures
Related diners can sit at the same table when dining out, says Enterprise SG.
They can even sit at tables where some seats are marked as seats that should not be used, according to a media release.
Reader: Wait, only related? So I still can’t sit next to my girlfriend? Do I have to date my cousin or something?
What? No, of course not. I was going to add that related diners include family members and couples.
This means that only unrelated diners have to seat 1m apart from each other. So, if you really can’t stand eating Chicken Rice so far away from your friend, just marry them.
Limited to 10 per group
If you happen to have an enormous family, however, and I don’t mean their weight, then you’ll have to limit your group to 10 persons or fewer.
This means that if you’re having dinner with your 12 brothers and sisters, you’ll have to choose who you like more.
This is in line with MOH’s advice to avoid gatherings of over 10 people, even at private events.
If you’re still confused, here’s the full section on “Table and seating management” from Enterprise SG’s media release:
- Tables and seats for different groups of diners must be at least one metre apart. Related diners (e.g. family members, couples) can be seated together.
- Groups of diners must be limited to 10 persons or fewer. F&B establishments must disperse congregations of more than 10 persons by splitting the group into separate tables and ensuring a distance of at least one metre between tables.
- F&B establishments with fixed seating must mark out seats which should not be used. They must ensure that unrelated diners are seated at least one meter apart from one another.
Safe-Distancing Ambassadors Won’t Fine You
Now, under the new regulations, diners who intentionally sit less than 1m away from another person or on demarcated seats meant to provide a 1m spacing could face a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.
However, Enterprise SG has clarified that its social distancing ambassadors will not slap you with a fine.
This was a response to a rumour that circulated on social media about a safe distancing ambassador who had imposed a fine on an individual for sitting on a demarcated seat.
But this is false.
“Safe distancing ambassadors are deployed by various government agencies to guide and ensure that businesses implement and comply with the safe distancing measures.
“They do not impose fines.”
However, they did add that “Businesses that are found to have violated the Infectious Diseases Act and regulations promulgated thereunder may be liable for an offence and charged.”
So, how exactly will these new regulations be enforced? Will there be other officers who’ll sneak up on you while you’re chowing down on some Mee Goreng and give you a ticket? No one knows, at the moment.
But for the sake of your fellow Singaporeans and your wallet, I’d suggest you sit 1m away from other diners. (Unless you’re related, of course).
Or just dabao lah.
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