Sat, November 27, 2021


Malls in Singapore roll out SafeEntry Gateway boxes for checking out

SINGAPORE - SafeEntry Gateway boxes that allow visitors to easily check out of venues have been rolled out at malls, supermarkets and other places with high traffic.

This is to help the authorities pinpoint instances of Covid-19 exposure more accurately.

The Star Vista mall in Buona Vista, one of the first places to receive the devices, deployed them at its four exit points on Monday (June 28).

Other malls, including those managed by Frasers Property Retail and Far East Organization, as well as FairPrice supermarket outlets, have also begun rolling them out progressively.

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office started sending the boxes to eligible businesses last Tuesday.

The boxes were first launched in March with only the check-in function enabled.

Boxes to allow checking out were first announced by the Ministry of Health on June 18 as part of new measures to improve contact tracing efforts amid Singapore's reopening to phase three (heightened alert).

Although checking out is not mandatory, it gives the authorities more accurate data on the amount of time a person spent in a place.

While checking into venues by tapping TraceTogether tokens or mobile phones on SafeEntry Gateway boxes has become common, The Straits Times observed that not many people were doing the same to check out at The Star Vista on Tuesday.

Of the 224 visitors who left the mall through one of its exits in the span of an hour on Tuesday afternoon, only 42 people, or 18.8 per cent, checked out using the SafeEntry Gateway.

Two people tried to do so but were unsuccessful and left without checking out.

Some of the other methods visitors can use to check out include pressing the checkout button in the TraceTogether app, or having staff scan their tokens or phones using the checkout mode in the SafeEntry mobile app for businesses.

Food delivery rider Marcus Chua, who is in his 30s, started using the TraceTogether token recently so he could turn off the Bluetooth function on his mobile phone and conserve its battery life.

With the new box in place, it will be more convenient to check out with a tap of the token after he picks up orders from malls, he said.

"I'm glad that I can check out more easily now so I can lower the chance of, for example, getting called up as a close contact of a Covid-19 case even though I actually left (the place) earlier," he said.

University student Tan Aik Wen, 21, said: "When I check in by tapping my phone, the place doesn't show up on my TraceTogether app, so I usually wouldn't be able to check out afterwards. It would show up only if I checked in by scanning the QR code.

"With the box, there is now an option for people who tapped in to tap out as well."

Ms Christina Toh, marketing and communications manager for The Star Vista, said posters have been put up at the entry points to explain the use of the boxes and encourage users to check out.

The boxes for checking out feature a blue sticker to differentiate them from those for checking in.

Said Ms Toh: "This initiative is relatively new, so most of the public are still not aware that there are SafeEntry Gateways for checking out. Our SafeEntry staff also encourage the visitors to check out."

Published : June 30, 2021

By : Rei Kurohi/The Straits Times/ANN