SINGAPORE, 15 — Twenty-three food and beverage outlets were found to have breached safe management measures over the past weekend, with many of them allowing groups of more than five seated together or intermingling between tables, or serving and allowing the consumption of alcohol past 10.30pm.
The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) said in a media release today that government agencies are reviewing the breaches and the appropriate enforcement actions will be taken, including temporary closure of the outlets and the issuance of fines.
One food and beverage (F&B) outlet in Chinatown had accepted a booking of 10 patrons and seated the group in two tables within a private dining room. When asked, outlet staff claimed that persons at the two tables did not know each other.
In Orchard Road, an outlet was found to have served alcoholic drinks from metal teapots after 11pm to 13 patrons. Investigations revealed that the teapots contained beer, and the bottles of beer sold by the restaurant were concealed at the bottom of the fridge storing drinks.
Another F&B outlet at Orchard Road was visited by enforcement officers around midnight, where loud conversations could be heard from the locked premises. The officers gained entry to the outlet after issuing verbal warnings to the operator to open the door, and found six patrons seated separately with no sign of drinks on their table.
However, CCTV footage showed that these patrons had been drinking just before the officers arrived. The footage also showed the patrons and owner clearing the glasses and hiding the alcohol bottle just before opening the door to allow the officers in.
Additionally, an F&B outlet at Boat Quay was found to have a group of 15 patrons seated across four tables for a pre-planned dinner event and were intermingling, while an outlet at Jurong East allowed eight customers to sit together at a long table within the premises.
As part of stepped-up checks for compliance with safe management measures, government agencies conducted additional patrols of nightspots on September 12 and 13, with a total of 149 food and beverage outlets in known hotspots inspected.
These stepped-up enforcement checks involved enforcement officers from seven government agencies, including the Singapore Police Force. These come on top of the daily routine inspections at F&B outlets, which include coffee shops and hawker centres across Singapore.
In total, more than 3,000 F&B outlets were inspected over the weekend.
The multi-ministry task force handling Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic had previously announced on Sept 9 that the Government would step up enforcement checks at F&B outlets around Singapore to ensure that they remain safe spaces for all.
“Dining out is an activity that involves considerable risks because it entails gathering in enclosed spaces, without masks on, and for a prolonged duration,” MSE added.
In a Facebook post on the matter, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu urged F&B operators and patrons to observe measures for Singaporeans’ collective safety.
“Covid-19 remains a grave threat, and the breaching of safe management measures constitutes a serious offence,” Ms Fu wrote. “We must do what we can to contain the spread of the virus, safeguard public health and livelihoods, and help Singapore to return to a Covid-safe world.” — TODAY