Covid-19: 529 eateries shut down from Feb. to April 2020, 50%-80% drop in revenue

Slightly more F&B businesses closed down in the same period last year.

Kayla Wong| June 01, 03:41 PM

Since the Covid-19 outbreak started, as many as 529 eateries have closed down from February to April, Lianhe Zaobao reported, citing data provided by the Singapore Department of Statistics.

The food and beverage businesses that were affected include restaurant chain Ministry of Food, cocktail bar Jekyll & Hyde, and two of the three Rookery outlets owned by former DJ Daniel Ong.

Dining in no longer allowed from early April

Dining in at F&B businesses is no longer allowed under circuit breaker measures announced by the government in early April.

The pandemic-induced measures have impacted the F&B sector, with a social media post listing 40 restaurants that have supposedly closed down due to the virus outbreak.

The list, however, failed to reveal when the restaurants ceased operations.

Pandemic yet to trigger wave of restaurant closures: Industry expert

While a total of 529 F&B businesses have closed in the months of February to April in 2020, the same period last year saw a total of 560 F&B outlets closing down.

President of Restaurant Association of Singapore Vincent Tan Chor Khoon told Zaobao that the dip in numbers in the same period this year as compared to last year means the pandemic has yet to trigger a wave of closures.

But he expects to see an incoming wave of closures as businesses gradually resume operations after circuit breaker measures are lifted, considering an economic recession is inevitable.

F&B sector severely impacted

Tan said that F&B businesses saw their revenue go down by as much as 80 per cent.

He said many members of the association told him that their business revenue dropped by about 50 per cent to 80 per cent.

Among these businesses, fine-dining restaurants were hit the hardest, he said.

As they are unable to provide food delivery services, they have to close down for the time being, he explained.

Tan said for the F&B businesses that mainly cater to tourists or hold banquets, they could not operate at all during the virus outbreak, which results in them no longer having any sort of revenue.

But he said the situation is not that bad now due to government assistance for the F&B businesses.

"They are able to hold up for the time bieng, but it's uncertain how long they can survive," he said.

Greatest help for restaurants is to allow them to resume dine-in services

Tan added that for F&B businesses, the greatest help would be allowing them to resume dine-in services.

Nevertheless, he said he understands the need for safe distancing measures and limits placed on the number of diners at each table, as he is also concerned about the possibility of new clusters forming in restaurants.

But he said the association has suggested to the authorities to allow operators to set up isolation booths instead, which means the 1-metre safe distancing measure is no longer needed.

"This will not only prevent the spread of the virus, but will also allow restaurants to accommodate more customers."

Top image by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images