COVID-19 in S'pore: Will bringing NRIC to malls and supermarkets for contact tracing purposes be made mandatory at all such premises nationwide soon?

The increasing number of malls and supermarkets in Singapore requiring their patrons to produce their NRIC for contact tracing purposes raises speculation on whether the move will be made mandatory in all such premises across the island.

NTUC FairPrice, Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, told CNA that it began contact tracing efforts at some of its outlets on Monday (27 April).

All of its outlets will also be rolling out contact tracing by the end of this week, NTUC FairPrice added.
A FairPrice spokesperson also confirmed that anyone who wishes to visit 148 FairPrice outlets island-wide will have to provide their NRIC numbers first upon entry, Mothership reported.
This new process will be gradually implemented at all FairPrice outlets in the city-state by the end of this month and early May.
CNA reported today that a staff member at the NTUC FairPrice outlet in NEX Shopping Centre was seen scanning a patron’s photo identification at the entrance of the supermarket.
Similar to NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong is also utilising the scanning method to facilitate contact tracing, and is doing so in all of its stores.
A Sheng Siong spokesperson told CNA that their customers’ NRIC or other forms of official photo identification are scanned using the Government-developed SafeEntry system.
The spokesperson noted that Sheng Siong’s customers are “encouraged” to bring their photo ID for scanning.
A Cold Storage outlet at the Great World Mall, however, erected a notice outside its entrance stating that registration is “mandatory”.
Patrons are required to fill in an online form with particulars such as their identification card number, full name and mobile number.
The form can be accessed via a QR code.
The Government in a WhatsApp message today urged the public to bring along their NRIC or other forms of official photo identification containing a barcode for scanning — such as a driving licence — when visiting supermarkets, malls and wet markets.

Photo Credit: Mothership

Temperature screening, wearing of masks compulsory in malls and supermarkets

So far, the Government has made compulsory temperature screening at entry points in malls and supermarkets and the wearing of masks on such premises at all times as part of its circuit breaker measures for such businesses.
Such premises with high traffic are also urged to conduct contact tracing “where reasonably practicable”, according to an advisory issued by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Housing & Development Board (HDB), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 21 April.
Additionally, supermarkets are specifically “encouraged” to provide dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, persons with disabilities and pregnant women.
Supermarkets should also limit the entry of customers to one person per family when shopping where practicable, the Government added.
Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to S$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
Subsequent offences may face a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both.
“Businesses that do not implement or comply with the government’s safe distancing advisories may also be ineligible for government grants, loans, tax rebates and other assistance,” according to the Government.

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