F&B outlets rush to clear inventory, with some donating items, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

F&B outlets rush to clear inventory, with some donating items

This article is more than 12 months old

Food and beverage operators who got just hours' notice that they would have to shut yesterday have been scrambling to clear their inventory of sweet treats, snacks and other perishables.

Some donated them to charities and migrant workers.

Bakery chain Bengawan Solo gave the kueh and cakes it had prepared for sale yesterday to non-profits including Willing Hearts, Food from the Heart and Project Chulia Street, which supports migrant workers.

Like other F&B operators selling drinks, snacks and desserts as their main trade, the bakery chain will have to close all its 44 outlets until at least May 4.

With the tightening of measures announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday in a bid to limit human interaction and curb the spread of the coronavirus, the list of services considered essential and allowed to open was trimmed to exclude some F&B outlets as well as barbers and other businesses, effective yesterday.

Bubble tea operator Playmade, which saw a rush of orders on Tuesday night resulting in an incident between a GrabFood delivery rider and staff at its Waterway Point outlet, issued an apology yesterday.

It said it had shut all nine outlets and would be donating perishables such as Yakult, milk and fresh fruits to migrant worker donation drives at Jurong West Sport Centre and Pasir Ris Sport Centre.

The authorities have said that online retailing of food products now deemed non-essential are allowed only if they are fulfilled from a licensed central kitchen, warehouse or approved manufacturing facility.

Some operators that have both these and other items on the menu say they are confused as to whether the new rules apply to them.

Additional restrictions also kicked in for other consumer-facing businesses yesterday, with pet supply stores and retail laundry services no longer allowed to keep their physical shops open.

Mr Ng Whye Hoe, group managing director of Pet Lovers Centre, said he was surprised to learn that all 70 stores here would have to shut.

Long lines formed outside its shops until closing time on Tuesday night, while its e-commerce website received more than 2,100 orders yesterday alone.

Mr Ng told customers there was no need for panic buying, as supply was sufficient. But delivery delays of up to a week should be expected, he said.