5-person dining rule to facilitate networking at forum: Minister
The Bloomberg New Economy Forum (NEF) is an important event that will help Singapore maintain its hub city status, which will then support economic recovery and create good jobs for Singaporeans, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
A key objective of the forum is to facilitate business networking, so groups of up to five people will be allowed to dine together at forum venues and designated restaurants in the city, he added.
Mr Gan said: "We will need to ensure they have space to be able to interact with one another, so that they can network and meet their business associates to talk business with one another."
He added that participants may need to hold discussions in groups, and that is why they will be allowed to dine in larger groups of five. "They also need to make use of every moment available because many of them travel from many different places, and they do want to maximise the value they can get while they are here."
Mr Gan was addressing concerns about the different rules for forum delegates and people in Singapore, who are now limited to a maximum of two when dining out.
The forum will be held from Nov 16 to Nov 19 at the Capella Singapore hotel and is expected to draw more than 300 participants from 51 countries, including political and business leaders.
Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin, in a note to forum delegates, said guests at meals can include non-delegates. The authorities have put in place safety measures to reduce the risk of transmission, including requiring all forum participants - Singapore residents included - to undergo daily testing before an event.
Venues and restaurants for forum delegates must also be designated in advance and made exclusive for the event, with non-delegates who go to these places required to test negative in advance.
Asked why the Government is not allowing Singaporeans to dine and meet in larger group sizes as well, Mr Gan said the scale of risk is different.
Forum delegates are a limited number but allowing people in Singapore to dine in larger groups means more than five million people could be eating out, he added.
Mr Gan said: "Those who are infected may bring the virus back home and they may have seniors at home who will be exposed to the danger..."
He added that it will not be practical to impose a pre-testing requirement for people in Singapore because the forum will run for only a few days. If dining-in restrictions are relaxed across the board, everyone who goes out for a meal will have to be tested, which is not a good solution, Mr Gan said.