Singapore – A day after Phase 2 officially started, a restaurant in Holland Village was ordered to close for failing to implement proper safety measures among the crowds that gathered in the premises. Netizens were in agreement with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) to remove outdoor dining within the area as an added precaution.
On Saturday (June 20), a day after the start of Phase 2, British Indian Curry Hut was ordered to shut after crowds were spotted outside the restaurant on Friday. They were seen mingling, smoking and disregarding proper safe distancing. According to Mr Khader Basha Ghouse Basha, the restaurant’s general manager, the people found standing on the street were beyond their control. He mentioned in a todayonline.com report that it was quite challenging for management to advise those standing outside the restaurant where to position themselves or to adhere to safety measures as not all of them were customers.
The URA ordered for Mr Basha’s F&B establishment located along Lorong Mambong to close, effective immediately, and would only be permitted to do takeaways next week and dine-in starting June 29. The restaurant must “show that it is able to implement safe management measures for its customers” first before being allowed to proceed, said URA.
Meanwhile, Mr Basha noted that two fights occurred in the area, which led to the buildup of bystanders within the premises. “Because of the fight, all the crowd gathered in front of our restaurant. The person who took the picture is assuming that people are waiting to patronise us, which is not right,” he added. He explained that at around 8:30 pm, 15 customers were dining in the outdoor refreshment area, which had a maximum capacity of 20 people. Customers who wished to join friends in other tables were prohibited from doing so by staff. Mr Basha has sent an email to URA to explain what happened and hoped that the organisation would “guide them through this difficult period.”
The URA has also ordered for all outdoor refreshment areas of restaurants along the area to be removed and reopened the street to traffic to limit people from mingling, reported todayonline.com. After complying with the new mandate, establishments admitted their sales took a hit because restaurants in the area depended on the additional seating capacity of the outdoor space. Patrons from neighbouring restaurants became “a little too excited,” said one business owner. “Because of one or two restaurants that failed to observe safe management, they (URA) needed to close the road,” added the owner who is wondering how they were going to survive.
Members from the online community agreed with the authorities’ decision in ordering for British Indian Curry Hut to close and to remove outdoor refreshment areas. The general manager could have called the police to assist in clearing the crowds, said Ken Li. “Shop operators need to follow safe distancing rules as others have been doing so,” added the netizen and reminded everyone that there are still new Covid-19 cases every day which means extra precautions must be taken.
Gilbert Cheah witnessed the gathering of people along Holland Village that night and confirmed many didn’t follow the rules. “Closed is a wise decision until the patrons follow the rules,” said Yang Ismail. A verbal warning would not be fair to the other businesses who incur additional costs for strictly following protocols, said Benjamin Ng. “What further unnecessary cost would be incurred if the curry hut became a Covid cluster?” he added.
Sunil Hedge urged everyone to be responsible, and hopefully, this “loud and clear” message would remind people that the virus has not disappeared.