SINGAPORE: Three food and beverage outlets have been ordered to temporarily close for breaching COVID-19 safety measures, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) on Thursday (Sep 17).
Fifteen other outlets have also been fined from S$1,000 onwards for flouting the rules, added the ministry in a media release.
READ: 23 F&B outlets breach COVID-19 safety rules, including restaurant that served beer in teapots after 11pm
These were among the 23 F&B outlets identified recently during stepped-up checks in the weekend of Sep 12 and Sep 13.
Among the outlets ordered to close is a seafood restaurant at Orchard Plaza that served alcohol from metal teapots.
At 11pm on Sep 12, officers arrived at Jiang Hu Xia Ke and observed 13 people pouring drinks from metal teapots at their tables.
"Investigations revealed that the teapots contained beer, and the restaurant supervisor admitted to concealing alcohol consumption using the teapots," said the ministry in the media release.
Bottles of beer sold by the restaurants were also hidden at the bottom of a fridge used to store drinks.
Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited after 10.30pm daily.
CUSTOMERS SEATED TOGETHER, INTERMINGLING
In Jurong East, eight people were observed sitting together and intermingling at a long table at 96 Food Fusion & Bar.
READ: First-time F&B offenders will now face enforcement action for flouting COVID-19 safe management measures: Lawrence Wong
Another restaurant at Chinatown was ordered to close after accepting a booking for a group of 10 people.
When officers arrived at Frog Meat Fish Head at around 10pm, the customers were seen seated at two tables within a private dining room, said MSE.
"When asked, outlet staff claimed that the people at the two tables did not know one another," said the ministry.
However, upon further questioning, the customers admitted they were colleagues.
The operators of all three outlets were issued an order to close for a period of 10 days.
15 F&B OUTLETS FINED FOR BREACHING SAFETY RULES
A total of 15 F&B outlets have also been fined for breaching COVID-19 safety measures, said MSE in the media release.
Ten of the outlets were fined S$1,000 for breaches such as allowing groups of more than five to be seated together or to intermingle between tables, and seating groups of customers less than 1m apart.
The other five outlets were fined S$2,000 for repeat offences, said MSE.
Additional inspections were carried out on Wednesday on 57 F&B outlets in "known hotspots", said MSE.
Among these, seven were found to have breached COVID-19 safety rules.
"Agencies are reviewing these breaches and the appropriate enforcement actions to be taken, including temporary closure of the outlets and the issuance of fines," said MSE.
"COVID-19 remains a grave threat," said the ministry.
It added that dining out is an activity that "involves considerable risks because it entails gathering in enclosed spaces, without masks on, and for a prolonged duration".
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Thursday said that it was "regrettable" that F&B outlets have been found flouting COVID-19 safety rules.
"The errant actions of a few can jeopardise our collective efforts to keep our communities safe from COVID-19," said Ms Fu in a Facebook post.
"That is why we have been stepping up our enforcement checks on F&B outlets."
Ms Fu said the outlets that breached the safety rules were "placing Singaporeans at risk".
"A resurgence of COVID-19 infections would set us back in the progress that we have made in transiting towards a new normal."
She reminded the public to be mindful in observing safe distancing measures and to be responsible when dining out.