Singapore – A photo posted by Lim Tean portraying an empty restaurant during peak hours paved the way for concerned citizens to express a more significant issue that should be addressed by the Government.
On February 25, Tuesday, lawyer and opposition politician Lim Tean shared a photo on his Facebook page of an empty restaurant. “Not only are our taxi drivers facing an incredibly tough time over this virus crisis, but our F&B outlets are also in dire straits too!” said Mr Lim.
The photos were of a restaurant at Novena Square taken at 7pm. There was only one diner patronising the outlet during dinner time.
Mr Lim added in his post that the 15 per cent property tax rebate announced by the Government would be of negligible help to F&B outlets at this time. He then urged landlords to lower the rent of their tenants by at least 50 per cent for the next few months, “to stabilise the local economy and protect jobs.”
“The landlords have made very good money in normal times, and Singapore expects them now to do their part to help our economy and people,” said Mr Lim.
His post highlighted the support package to be introduced by the Government to enterprises as a way to cope with the Covid-19 outbreak effects. However, based on the responses by concerned citizens, it would seem that the tax rebate would not be enough.
Tenants have shared that they have written to their respective management for assistance to no avail. Rentals are the bigger issue that should be taken into consideration.
Businesses are feeling the aftershocks of the outbreak. “It’s a chain reaction that affects spending power across most sectors, and many shops and stalls have since been put up for rent. Walk around People Park Centre or even coffee shops, many up for rent,” said Ming Lai. Another added that some restaurants have started promoting their food outside the establishment only to be rejected by declining customers.
Samm Tan did the computations. A 15 per cent tax rebate spread out over a year would equal to 1.25 per cent a month. “Can’t even cover disinfection spray,” added the netizen.
While asking landlords to slash rentals in half is a hopeful request, many perceive it impossible to happen. “Unfortunately, Mr Lim, for the better part of 50 years we have not only embraced a culture of fear and kiasu-ism, we have also embraced a culture of greed and personal financial gratification above all else,” noted Sherwyn T Rollings.
Another netizen suggested that perhaps businesses could also offer discounts to make ends meet.
Empty Restaurants! Not only are our taxi-drivers facing an incredibly tough time over this virus crisis, our F&B…