Literally a matter of life or death for restaurants if they are found breaching safe distancing measures, says a restaurant owner

A restaurant owner took to his Facebook page on Sunday (16 Aug), imploring the diners to comply with safe distancing measures after he had to deal with a couple of safe-distancing incidents occurred at his restaurants which led them to call police.

Claiming himself as the owner of Vatos Urban Tacos at South Beach and Vatos Cantina at Holland Village, a netizen who goes by Sid Kim recounted the two incidents at his restaurants and felt the need to “directly address” the consumers.

According to the owner, on Friday night, two tables of five persons at his South Beach’s restaurant who were next to each other continued to mingle and socialize despite at least three or four warnings by his staff.

“Every time we asked them to stop, the guests would say ‘okay, okay’, and then 5 minutes later, they would begin mingling again,” he wrote.

At about 20 minutes later, the owner said that a social distancing officer came in and told that the restaurant will be fined and shutdown if he “saw something like this again”.

While the second incident was happened at Holland Village on Saturday night where a table of four persons and a table of three persons kept mingling and socialising.

“My manager told them to stop, nicely at first, but when they ignored her completely, she became more stern. Ultimately, we had to ask both tables to leave the premises. The guests refused,” the owner said.

As the guests ignored their requests, he then told the manager that they had no choice but to call the police, and the manager did.

The owner also said that a passerby took a photo of the group of seven at that moment, and told his staff that they will be reporting the restaurant for violating safe distancing regulations.

However, before the police officers arrived, the guests at Holland Village had left, the owner said.

Expressing his sentiments on these incidents, the owner noted, “For customers, breaching the safe distancing regulations might not seem that important, but for restaurants, it’s literally a matter of life or death.”

He continued, “Many F&B establishments are barely hanging on as it is – a massive fine and 10 days of mandatory shut down could easily be the final nail in the coffin. The livelihoods of many of our staff also depends on our staying open, so please try to be more understanding.”

He also cited the “Robertson Quay scenario”, saying that if the guests had stayed, there could be “another potential Robertson Quay scenario playing itself out, which would be unfortunate for everyone involved”.

“Please do not put restaurants in this type of situation.  If it came down to it, I’m sure most restaurant owners would choose their and their staffs’ livelihoods over a group of expats being deported,” he added.

At the end of his post, the owners implored the customers to follow the safe distancing protocols when dining out as he said, “the rules, whether you agree with them or not, are for everyone” and will be strictly enforced.

The Facebook post has gone viral with 3.7k likes and 3.4k shares at the time of writing, while hundreds of netizens flooding the comment section with their thoughts.

The netizens said that those who violate the safe distancing measures are “selfish” and “do not understand the pain of running business”, which always thinking about themselves and create unnecessary problems amid these tough times.

A few netizens opined that the authorities should take action against the individuals who violate the rules instead of fining the restaurants as “it is irresponsible of the customers to put their social needs before the law and break them”.

While a handful of netizens also suggested the restaurants owner to make use of CCTV footage for evidence, and lodge a report to the authorities if there is any such cases happen.

Restaurants that have been ordered to shutdown due to failure of complying with safe distancing measures

As reported by The New Paper, a hotpot restaurant, Restaurant Hai Xian Lao has been ordered by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to suspend for ten days and fined $2,000 after the restaurant found to be breaching the safe distancing measures.

It was noted that the restaurant has failed to follow the limitations of group size by allowing 20 people gathering in a locked private room while allowing customers to consume alcohol on its premises after 10.30pm.

Meanwhile, on 20 June, another restaurant in Holland Village has been ordered to close with immediate effect as people were observed gathering around the outdoor refreshment areas and on the road along Lorong Mambong in Holland Village.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) stated that crowds were spotted at the British Indian Curry Hut, adding that the restaurant had failed to adhere to the safe management practices.

In a video sent to TOC, a group of people were caught in a scuffle on the road along Lorong Mambong in Holland Village, leading to crowds gathering around them.

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