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[Singapore] Businesses gear up for compulsory TraceTogether check-ins from May 17


SINGAPORE - Hair salon Tresses Studio in Ghim Moh and many other businesses are set for customers to check in using only TraceTogether when it becomes compulsory for contact tracing from Monday (May 17).

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The salon has already installed a SafeEntry Gateway Box, a new device that allows visitors to do a SafeEntry check-in at the entrance by tapping the TraceTogether token or a phone app against the box.

This is ahead of the June 15 deadline for more public venues to have the gateway system in place as another way for visitors to check in besides scanning QR codes with the TraceTogether app or scanning the token.

Tresses Studio director Kenny Chew said staff training was not an issue for the gateway box: "You just bring your gadget near (the box to check-in). It's very easy."

Many businesses and industry associations told The Straits Times they are ready as well.

The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) noted that about 80 per cent of the 80 firms it has received feedback from said they were ready for TraceTogether-only SafeEntry check-ins.

The rest are either getting prepared or are not ready yet, said the association, which represents about 8,000 small- and medium-sized businesses.

Ms Louisa Lee, Asme's vice-president for communications, said many firms are already using the SafeEntry QR code for checking in, such as using the Singpass app or a phone's camera to scan the codes.

"So, we don't foresee many having problems with the transition (to TraceTogether check-ins only), as the same QR code will work," said Ms Lee.

She added that some firms have faced technical or administrative issues, such as having problems updating the QR code for a business premises after moving.

Ms Lee added that these companies could also be small outfits that may not need to have SafeEntry check-ins.

The Hair and Cosmetology Association Singapore, which has about 300 members, said some had issues applying for the gateway but these have since been addressed.

The Singapore Hotel Association, which has 160 hotels, said no members had reported any technical hitches that could not be resolved.

The Restaurant Association of Singapore has contacted its more than 500 members to advise them on how they can get help to train staff on using the free SafeEntry (Business) app, which can stand in for the SafeEntry Gateway box, as well as applying for and setting up the box itself.

Singpass, phone camera and identity card check-ins will no longer be supported when compulsory TraceTogether check-ins start on Monday, but some exceptions can be made for scanning ID cards, such as when a visitor's phone has run out of battery.

The Government said last Tuesday that it was moving the start date ahead of the previously announced June 1.

The Hair and Cosmetology Association Singapore said the April notice that set the June 1 initial start date gave members a "sufficient grace period to apply online for the new SafeEntry Gateway device".

Outlets can get one free gateway box but can appeal for more.

UOB said there are SafeEntry Gateways at almost all of its premises, including main office buildings and all bank branches.

It also noted that an increasing number of visitors and employees have used TraceTogether to check in and out at its premises over the past few months.

"Given this trend, we expect a smooth transition to TraceTogether-only SafeEntry check-ins from May 17," UOB added.

DBS and OCBC banks said they are also ready.

Tresses Studio's Mr Chew said some customers are still not using TraceTogether to check in, citing concerns about being tracked.

"But they're willing to switch over when the time comes," he added.

Some customers are worried that the gateway does not record a check-in on the TraceTogether app.

"(With a record), if anything happens, they can remember where they've been to," he said, pointing to jitters over places Covid-19 patients visit that customers may have also gone to.

Published : May 14, 2021

By : Kenny Chee/The Straits Times/ANN