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F&B businesses to get more support from Jobs Support Scheme following tighter COVID-19 measures

F&B businesses to get more support from Jobs Support Scheme following tighter COVID-19 measures

People wearing face masks walk past rows of restaurants along Boat Quay in Singapore on Sep 15, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The Government will increase support for F&B businesses under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to 50 per cent, following the announcement that dining-in will be suspended from Sunday (May 16). 

This is an increase from the 10 per cent support of wages paid up to June 2021.

Speaking at media conference on Friday, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said: “We realise that this will have significant inconvenience to many people, I think the businesses that will be hardest hit will be the F&B sector because of the restriction for dining-in.” 

This increase in support will apply during the period where dining-in is prohibited, he added. 

The current size of group gatherings allowed will be reduced from five people to two people, following a spike in COVID-19 community cases, Mr Wong announced on Friday. 

Dining-in at F&B establishments will not be allowed. This includes hawker centres and food courts, both indoors and outdoors.

READ: Group sizes down from 5 to 2, dining-in suspended as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures 

The measures will be in place for a month between May 16 and Jun 13, and the Government will do a review two weeks after they have been implemented to “look at the prevailing public health situation” and “see if there’s a need to adjust the measures further”, said Mr Wong. 

In a separate press release, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the Government will increase the JSS support rate to 50 per cent of the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees for this period. 

“This is an increase from the 10 per cent support for wages paid up to June 2021,” the press release stated.

The Government will also provide one month of rental waivers for hawker stalls and coffee shop tenants of government agencies, said Mr Wong. 

“We also strongly encourage commercial landlords to support their F&B tenants,” he added. 

Responding to whether the Government expects the fallout for F&B businesses to be comparable or worse than during the “circuit breaker” period last year, Mr Wong said it would be “hard to predict”. 

“Certainly the F&B sector will be impacted. The takeout business is not the same as dining-in. And therefore, while they can shift to take out, there will be an impact on the revenues and bottom lines.

“We will continue to monitor this closely but we believe with the support measures we can do something to help the affected businesses.” 

The JSS was first introduced in the Budget in February 2020, and it subsidised between 25 and 75 per cent of wages for firms. 

During his Budget speech earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a fourth extension of the scheme, costing the Government another S$700 million.

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Source: CNA/hw(rw)

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