Singapore

F&B outlets, diners face penalties for first safe management offences

Food and beverage (F&B) outlets and diners who breach safe management measures will now be penalised even for the first offence instead of just receiving a warning, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

This move will kick in with immediate effect, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement, given that there has been sufficient time for F&B outlets and their customers to adjust to the rules.

An MOH spokesman said the ministry remains "very concerned" about such breaches. "Dining out is an activity that involves considerable risks because people are gathered together in an enclosed space, without their masks on, and for a prolonged duration," he said.

Since the start of phase two of Singapore's reopening on June 19, around 20 F&B establishments have been suspended, added MOH.

Speaking during a multi-ministry task force press conference yesterday, Mr Wong said the enforcement agencies will be stepping up spot checks and enforcement actions. "Most people are complying with these measures, but there are still a few breaches that we pick up on a daily basis, and they typically happen at the popular nightspots," said the minister.

For instance, there are people who drink after 10.30pm and attempt to disguise their alcohol, who do not wear masks, or who gather in groups of more than five.

Establishments that breach the rules will be fined or made to close, depending on the severity of the offence.

For instance, if multiple breaches of safe management measures are found in any one place, the authorities will require the premises to close and will surface the case to the Attorney-General's Chambers for possible prosecution, MOH said.

Yesterday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said seven F&B outlets in popular nightspots were fined $1,000 each for failing to comply with safe distancing rules over the past weekend.

Two bars from the seven that were fined - Le Noir and Coyote Ugly in Clarke Quay - will also be suspended from today to Sept 19, while fines will also be issued to 17 individuals found breaching the five-person rule at various F&B outlets. More individuals are under investigation.

Besides the two outlets in Clarke Quay, the others that were fined are located along Boat Quay, China Square and Tanjong Pagar.

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