Singapore

Patrons welcome easing of restrictions at eateries, foodcourts

Eateries and hawkers hope business will pick up as the week progresses

A pre-lunch crowd of mostly seniors was observed making full use of the five-person dine-in rule that kicked in yesterday.

Many welcomed the easing of restrictions after almost three weeks of being limited by a cap of two people to a table at eateries. The cap lasted from June 21 to Sunday.

Almost all tables were occupied at the Foodfare @ AMK Hub foodcourt by noon yesterday, with several groups comprising four or five people.

"We contacted one another as soon as we heard we could go out together again," said Ms Lai Nee Chin, 56, a housewife, who was with her two sisters and brother-in-law.

"I think the Government took the right pace in easing restrictions because now it's ramping up vaccination, so it makes sense that vaccinated people can meet up again while staying safe," she said.

However, Mr Aok Pow Chong, 72, a retired technician who was also at the foodcourt with four friends, said the easing of rules was long overdue.

"The Government has had more than a year of experience in dealing with Covid-19 already, so it should have the confidence to manage the situation instead of splitting us up and making the economy suffer," he said.

Other diners The Straits Times spoke to were looking forward to being able to eat out together with their families at the same table again.

"The key thing is now I can eat with my parents without any restrictive seating arrangement," said 34-year-old civil servant Jace Soh, who was having breakfast at Bukit Timah Food Centre.

HAPPY

Two retirees, who wanted to be known only as Mr and Mrs Sim, both 65, were at Kim San Leng Food Centre in Bishan with their grandchildren, aged one and four.

The couple had similar views to those of Mr Soh.

"It was inconvenient before. Today, we're very happy that we can eat together again," said Mr Sim.

"We feel that it's better for our family to eat together rather than splitting across tables, especially as our grandchildren are young," Mrs Sim said.

Among those who had made dinner plans was Mr Arthur Franco, 59, who works in real estate sales.

"Social gatherings are very important because people have been isolated," said Mr Franco, who planned to dine in at a Lavender eatery with his wife and another couple.

Eateries and hawkers, however, reported different experiences.

Many restaurants and markets are closed on Mondays. Additionally, working from home remains the default.

Several hawkers ST spoke to noted that as it is the start of the week, business is generally slow.

"On Mondays, there are always fewer people, since the market is not open, but I think businesses will definitely see improvement," said Mr Tang Tee Ngow, 67, who runs a porridge stall with his wife at Bukit Timah Food Centre.

Food & Drink