In an e-mail reply, an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) spokesman said outdoor refreshment areas (ORAs) are outdoor extensions of the indoor dining areas of F&B establishments.

He said, if well-managed, these areas can inject street-level vibrancy.

In commercial areas like Orchard Road and Singapore River, the URA has introduced guidelines since the 1990s to encourage ORAs.

He added: "In other areas, small-scale ORAs may be considered along the covered walkways if they do not compromise the safety of patrons, obstruct pedestrian movement or cause inconvenience to surrounding residents."

The spokesman added that each proposal made by the shop owner is evaluated while considering fire safety codes, impact on pedestrian movement andresidents, and car parking.