COVID-19 PHASE 2: Staying Safe while Eating Out

Being a city that never sleeps, Singaporeans have pulled off the unlikely feat of staying indoors for 2 whole months. Which is why immediately after Phase 2’s announcement 6 days ago, my phone started buzzing with messages from friends to go out to eat. All the popular eating spots were booked out in one night. But of course, with great power (to go out) comes with great responsibility.

Here are some tips you can remember when you’re heading out to keep our country safe and prevent another Circuit Breaker period from happening. 


The government recommends that masks (no face shields!) must be worn as long as you are out of your own house. This applies to workplaces, gyms, beaches and playgrounds.

The primary reason for a mask is to stop transmission from the wearer to others, particularly from people who are infected but asymptomatic and therefore, might not know that they are infected. A mask provides a physical barrier to droplets from others.

Disposable face masks should be used once and then thrown away. It should also be replaced when they become moist.

Removing a mask
  1. Clean your hands with soap and water/hand sanitiser before touching the mask
  2. Hold both of the ear loops and gently life and remove the mask, avoid touching the front of the mask
  3. Throw the mask in the trash and clean your hands again

Masks should be removed only when engaging in strenuous activity and promptly put back on during rest and after the entire activity is over. Now that dining out is allowed, masks can be removed when eating or drinking. However, when it is removed, it should be stored in a clean receptacle, such as a well-ventilated plastic or paper bag.

To touch or not to touch?

Going out often means coming in physical contact with menus, door handles or seats surfaces in restaurants. Understandably, many may be concerned about how viruses can be transmitted through these shared resources.

Although it is unclear how long the COVID-19 virus can persist on surfaces, some studies have detected virus particles up to 3 days on plastic, 4 days on cotton, and 5 days on metal. While such transmissions are likely only when there is heavier viral contamination, ensure to sanitise your hands regularly when you are out.

Furthermore, use napkins or tissues to hold metal bars or menus. And as much as possible, use contactless payment options when making payment.

Thankfully, many food businesses have begun to adopt mobile payments in light of the pandemic, so be sure to download them before heading out! Some popular contactless payment systems are PayNow, DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone, GrabPay or Nets FLASHPay.

Sharing is not always caring

Being Asian and major foodies, Singaporeans love to share our food. Especially when there is a variety of food on the menu and we want to “try everything”.

However, “communal food” may be more insidious than we think. In fact, authorities in China believe sharing meals was one way the virus was passed on, so quickly especially families that accounted for 85% of infection clusters. Try ordering individual meals instead. But if your Zi Char craving is getting the better of you, try taking your portion at the start of the meal without double-dipping later on.

Three’s a crowd

In a pandemic, two is not company.

Crowds allow the transmission of viruses to spread quickly and wide, as it is also harder to follow safe distancing measures. Instead, try going out during non-peak hours for your meals. Instead of going out for your lunch date at 12pm, maybe have it earlier at 11am or later after 2pm. Alternatively, bring your own takeaway boxes and have your delicious meal in the comfort of your homes.

The good news is that there are many in-dining deals during off-peak hours available on Chope and Eatigo, as well as various restaurants. Paying less just to dine at a different timing? Score!

Dine Alfresco

Experts have suggested that bringing your activities outdoors may be a good way to mitigate the spread of the virus in many ways. As the coronavirus spreads through airborne droplets that people can subsequently pick up with their hands, the open air is going to make it harder for these droplets to reach other people. Secondly, it is easier to practice social distancing outdoors. It is about the duration of contact and density.

When you go to a restaurant, instead of choosing indoor seating, perhaps choose the tables outside instead. For the first time, having a little sun and heat may actually be a worthy trade-off.


Of course, these are just tips to be safe when going out. However, we must remember that when times are changing, our habits have to change as well. As much as possible, staying at home more often should still be the better option, especially for older people or those with chronic conditions. Dine safe everyone!


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Images : Pixabay, Shutterstock


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