Singapore

Eateries frustrated by dining-in limit, seek more communication

Restaurateurs have greeted the extension of Covid-19 rules restricting dining-in to two people until Nov 21 with frustration and resignation.

In a Zoom meeting with The Straits Times yesterday, about 20 members of the savefnbsg chat group spoke about how they felt the food and beverage (F&B) industry has been treated unfairly, and that the logic behind the rules has not been communicated clearly to them.

The chat group is a ground-up movement of more than 500 restaurants that came together during the circuit breaker last year to support one another.

MUSIC

One of the members, Mr Willin Low, pointed out that while music is not allowed in his modern Singaporean restaurant Roketto Izakaya in Amoy Street, a gym nearby was blaring music during a class where members were exercising without masks.

"How is that different from my restaurant?" he asked.

Chef-owner Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends, a modern Australian eatery near Keong Saik Road, questioned the rationale of not allowing a family of five to dine together.

"Does the family create more risk than when they are at home? We just want to understand what we are trying to achieve. Now we have no idea of the goals for the industry."

Chef Ivan Yeo of The 1925 Brewing Co would like to see more communication.

"When we know the Government's decision only four days before it happens, we cannot make any decisions," he said.

Others said the 25 per cent salary subsidy for Singaporean workers under the Jobs Support Scheme does not even scratch the surface of their woes when revenue has dropped by 30 per cent or more compared with when five people were allowed to dine in.

Rental is another issue the restaurateurs brought up.

Mr Sebastian Low of Malaysian chain Papparich said he had been receiving legal letters from landlords when there was a slight delay in payment.

"Our sales are linked to their system, so they know how we are doing."

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