SINGAPORE: A total of 23 food and beverage outlets were found to have breached COVID-19 safe management measures during enforcement checks conducted by government agencies over the last weekend, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) on Tuesday (Sep 15).
These breaches involved groups of more than five people being seated together or intermingling between tables, as well as outlets serving and allowing consumption of alcohol after 10.30pm.
At one F&B outlet, enforcement officers found beer being served from metal teapots after 11pm.
Government agencies conducted additional patrols of nightspots on Sep 12 and Sep 13 as part of stepped-up checks for compliance with COVID-19 safe management measures, said MSE. A total of 149 F&B outlets in "known hotspots" were inspected.
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ALCOHOL SERVED IN TEAPOTS AT F&B OUTLET
A restaurant at Orchard Road was found to have served alcoholic drinks from metal teapots to 13 patrons after 11pm.
"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," said MSE.
Enforcement officers also visited another F&B outlet in Orchard Road around midnight and heard loud conversations from the locked premises.
They "gained entry" to the outlet after issuing verbal warnings to the operator to open the door, and found six patrons seated separately within the premises with no signs of drinks on their table.
However, CCTV footage showed that the patrons were drinking just before the officers arrived, and that the patrons and owner had cleared the glasses and hidden the alcohol bottle just before opening the door.
Other breaches included an F&B outlet at Chinatown accepting a booking of 10 patrons and seating 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," said MSE.
A group of 15 people were also spotted at another F&B outlet at Boat Quay. The patrons were seated across four tables for a pre-planned dinner event and were intermingling, said MSE.
Another F&B outlet at Jurong East was also found to have allowed eight customers to sit together at a long table within the premises.
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MSE did not name any of the 23 F&B outlets that flouted the safety measures.
"The agencies are reviewing the breaches and the appropriate enforcement actions will be taken, including temporary closure of the outlets and the issuance of fines. More details will be provided when ready," said the ministry.
"COVID-19 REMAINS A GRAVE THREAT"
These stepped-up enforcement checks involved officers from seven government agencies, including those from the Singapore Police Force, said MSE.
The other government agencies include the National Parks Board, National Environment Agency, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore Food Agency, Singapore Tourism Board, and Singapore Land Authority.
The checks come on top of routine inspections conducted daily at F&B outlets, including coffee shops and hawker centres, throughout Singapore. More than 3,000 inspections of F&B outlets were conducted over the weekend, said MSE.
"COVID-19 remains a grave threat. Dining out is an activity that involves considerable risks because it entails gathering in enclosed spaces, without masks on, and for a prolonged duration," said MSE.
It added that while the majority of F&B operators and premise owners ensure safe management measures are properly implemented, there are still F&B outlets that continue to breach these measures.
In a Facebook post, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu urged F&B operators and patrons to observe the safe management measures.
"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," she said.
MSE said government agencies will continue to step up enforcement checks to ensure that F&B establishments comply with the COVID-19 safety measures and that it will not hesitate to take "firm enforcement action" if the measures are breached.
"We would like to remind F&B operators and premises owners that breaches of safe management measures constitute a serious offence ... We also urge all members of the public to be socially responsible and observe the safe management measures," it said.