Bubble tea shops became a non-essential business yesterday (April 21), when the Covid-19 Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced that it was tightening restrictions on F&B outlets. Starting from April 21, 11.59pm, standalone bubble tea outlets will be closed in light of the ongoing circuit breaker. They were previously allowed to remain open as essential businesses.

But an update on the government's GoBusiness website clarifies that "these tighter measures will be in place minimally for a two-week period from 21 April 2020 until 4 May 2020 (inclusive)". Which means BBT shops may be authorised to reopen on May 5, though this would depend on the circuit breaker's progress. 

Naturally, this devastated Singapore’s BBT addicts, who were still able to tapow the beverages or order delivery while the circuit breaker is in place. On the night of April 21, bubble tea chains saw long queues of customers, while orders poured in via delivery apps like GrabFood, Deliveroo and Foodpanda. “People were rushing for one last drink,” Tiger Sugar’s managing director Trevor Fong tells us.

If you can’t bear the thought of going without BBT, take heart. While the restrictions apply to standalone bubble tea outlets, it excludes “stalls in hawker centres, coffeeshops and food courts”. According to guidelines set by the Ministry of Trade & Industry, the stalls are “allowed to continue with their operations”, even if they sell food that has been deemed non-essential. "Stalls operating at hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts will remain open in entirety as they provide food for the mass public". 

This means that hawker stalls selling bubble tea will still be open, so you don’t have to rush down to guzzle one last cup of pearl milk tea and risk flouting safe distancing rules. BBT brands are also allowed to sell their wares online (through food delivery platforms, for instance) if the drinks are made in a licensed central kitchen or approved manufacturing facility. So some brands, like Liho and Gong Cha, have teamed up with eateries and delivery aggregators to continue offering their bubble tea.

Below is a list of hawker stalls and eateries selling BBT that you can still support during this period — and they offer home delivery, too.