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Owner of Holland Village eatery calls police after diners breaching social distancing regulations refuse to leave

“For customers, breaching the safe distancing regulations might not seem that important, but for restaurants, it's literally a matter of life or death," said restaurant owner Sid Kim

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The owner of an eatery in Holland Village had the restaurant’s manager call the police after diners at two separate tables kept mingling despite repeated warnings not to do so.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (Aug 15), Sid Kim, the owner of Vatos Urban Tacos at South Beach and Vatos Cantina at Holland Village, wrote: “Last night at South Beach, two tables of 5 that were next to each other continued to mingle and socialize despite at least 3 or 4 warnings by my staff. Every time we asked them to stop, the guests would say “okay, okay”, and then 5 minutes later, they would begin mingling again”.

He added that when a social distancing officer visited the premises, staff were told that if he came back and saw diners not following safe distancing regulations again, the establishment would be fined and shut down.

Mr Kim then wrote about another incident that happened at the restaurant at Holland Village. He said that a table of four and a table of three kept mingling and socializing. The restaurant’s manager told them to stop, “nicely at first, but when they ignored her completely, she became more stern. Ultimately, we had to ask both tables to leave the premises”, he added.

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When the seven diners refused to leave the premises, “I told her that we had no choice but to call the police, which she did”, he wrote.

“At that moment, a passerby took a photo of the group of 7, approached one of my staff, and told her that they were going to report us for violating safe distancing regulations”, Mr Kim said.

“For customers, breaching the safe distancing regulations might not seem that important, but for restaurants, it’s literally a matter of life or death. Many F&B establishments are barely hanging on as it is – a massive fine and 10 days of mandatory shut down could easily be the final nail in the coffin”, he added.

He said that the seven diners at Holland Village left before the police officers arrived, adding that “If they had stayed, I would imagine another potential Robertson Quay scenario playing itself out, which would be unfortunate for everyone involved”.

Mr Kim urged diners: “Please do not put restaurants in this type of situation. If it came down to it, I’m sure most restaurant owners would choose their and their staffs’ livelihoods over a group of expats being deported”. /TISG

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