23 F&B outlets breached Covid-19 rules over weekend, 1 served beer from teapots after 11pm

More than 3,000 inspections of F&B outlets were conducted over the weekend of Sep. 12 and 13.

Jane Zhang | September 15, 2020, 12:15 PM

23 F&B outlets were found to have breached Safe Management Measures (SMMs) during patrols of nightspots conducted on Sep. 12 and 13.

Many of these breaches involved groups of more than five seated together or intermingling between tables, and the serving and consumption of alcohol past 10:30pm, announced the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) in a press release on Tuesday (Sep. 15).

23 F&B outlets found to be breaching SMMs

A total of 149 F&B outlets in known hotspots were inspected by enforcement officers from seven government agencies, including officers from the Singapore Police Force, stated the press release.

Of the 149 outlets, most were compliant. However, 23 of them were found to have breached SMMs.

The agencies are reviewing the breaches and the appropriate enforcement actions will be taken, including temporary closure of the outlets and the issuance of fines. More details will be provided when they are ready.

Here are some examples of some of the breaches that were committed:

Large group sitting "separately"

An F&B outlet at Chinatown accepted a booking of 10 patrons and seated the group in two tables within a private dining room. When asked, outlet staff claimed that people at the two tables did not know each other.

Serving alcohol after 11pm from teapots

An F&B outlet at Orchard Road served alcoholic drinks from metal teapots after 11pm to 13 patrons. Investigations revealed that the teapots contained beer, and the bottles of beer sold by the restaurant were concealed at the bottom of the fridge storing drinks.

Photo via Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

Hiding alcohol from enforcement officers

When enforcement officers visited an F&B outlet at Orchard Road around midnight, they heard loud conversations from premises that had been locked. The officers entered the outlet after issuing verbal warnings to the operator to open the door, and found six patrons seated separately within the premises with no sign of drinks on their table.

However, CCTV footage showed that these patrons had been drinking just before the enforcement officers arrived. The footage also showed the patrons and owner clearing the glasses and hiding the alcohol bottle just before opening the door to allow the officers in.

Large pre-planned event

At an F&B outlet at the Boat Quay area, a group of 15 patrons were seated across four tables for a pre-planned dinner event and were intermingling.

Allowing a group of larger than 5 to sit together

An F&B outlet at Jurong East allowed eight customers to sit together at a long table within the premises.

Photo via Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

Part of stepped-up enforcement checks

The stepped-up enforcement comes on top of the daily routine inspections by agencies at F&B outlets, which include coffee shops and hawker centres throughout Singapore.

In total, more than 3,000 inspections of F&B outlets were conducted over the weekend of Sep. 12 and 13.

During a press conference on Sep. 9, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced that the government would step up enforcement checks at F&B outlets around Singapore to ensure that they remain safe spaces for all.

No warnings will be given if one is found flouting the Covid-19 safe management measures, even first-time offenders, said MTF.

For businesses, first-time offenders may be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to six months. Repeat offenders will face heavier penalties.

Government agencies will continue to step up enforcement checks to ensure that F&B establishments comply with SMMs, and the government will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action, said the MSE press release:

"We would like to remind F&B operators and premises owners that breaches of SMMs constitute a serious offence. It is imperative that they ensure SMMs are properly implemented."

In addition, the government urged all members of the public to be socially responsible and to observe the same management measures.

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Top photos via Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.