Table shields to be trialled at Thomson Plaza foodcourt

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Acrylic sheets being installed at Thomson Plaza may become regular sight

Acrylic table shields may become a regular sight at food and beverage (F&B) establishments when dining-in is allowed again during phase two of the post-circuit breaker reopening.

At Thomson Plaza's Koufu foodcourt, 3mm thick clear acrylic sheets will be installed at 50 tables to separate diners seated across from or next to one another.

Moove Media, the advertising arm of taxi giant ComfortDelGro Corp, said yesterday it is sponsoring a month-long trial of these acrylic shields, which are similar to the plastic V-Shields currently trialled in 400 ComfortDelGro taxis.

The acrylic partitions are affixed to aluminium holders and there will be space for cleaners to wipe the tables without having to remove the shields each time.

TungLok Group, which has 15 brands including Dancing Crab and TungLok Signatures, is also looking at similar prototypes.

Mr Andrew Tjioe, chief executive of TungLok Group, said: ''The screens will be an added protection on top of other safety precautions. It's something that will help customers feel more at ease while dining-in.''

The company is looking at acrylic partitions with a timber frame that are about 1.8m tall.

Mr Keith Chua, vice-president of the Restaurant Association of Singapore, noted that clear dividers have been used by eateries in other countries.

''If such an approach proves to be an adequate (safety) measure, it could allow for more seating while preserving a safe environment,'' he told The Straits Times.

Delivery and takeaway will likely remain a key revenue source, as safe distancing measures will necessitate reduced capacity, said Mr Chua.

One way that eateries can compensate for this is to extend lunch and dinner services to accommodate more turnovers of tables, he added.

Ms Nagajyothi Mahendran, director of Samy's Curry, said she is looking forward to welcoming diners to the Dempsey Road restaurant soon.

However, she has concerns about how strict the rules for dining- in will be and how viable they will make operations.

Ms Nagajyothi said: ''When people dine in, they tend to hang around and chit chat.

''We're wondering if there will be guidelines on that, whether they have to wear a mask while waiting for food to be served and whether there will be restrictions on how long guests can spend at the restaurant.''

Mr Raymond Khoo, owner and executive chef of The Peranakan, is unsure if he will open his Claymore Connect restaurant during phase two.

''We will need to have staff on two shifts again for lunch and dinner, which might not be cost-effective if seating capacity is limited.

'Our staff are also cautious about what the infection rate will be like, so we are not sure if we want to risk exposure by resuming dining-in even if it is allowed in Phase 2,'' he said.