Singapore — One of the biggest associations of Food and Beverage establishment operators issued an open letter on Tuesday (Jul 20) asking the Government to require rental rebates from landlords of eateries for the survival of businesses.
“So that we can all emerge stronger together,” wrote the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) in a Facebook post.
RAS published the open letter after Singapore’s return to Heightened Alert Phase 2 was announced, with tighter restrictions deemed necessary given the surge of Covid-19 cases in the past week stemming from the KTV lounge and Jurong Fishery Port infection clusters.
The Food and Beverage industry has been among the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic, and being under HA Phase 2 means that no dining in at restaurants will be allowed from Jul 22 to Aug 18.
RAS, which has been the “collective voice” of the F&B industry since 1980, wrote that amid a loss of income to restaurant operators, “most landlords have given only the government-mandated rebates for the whole of 2020, and so far have yet to offer rebates beyond what the government has given to their tenants in government-owned properties, even with Phase 2 and 3 Heightened Alert measures.”
Writing that now is the time for “affirmative action,” RAS called on the government “to mandate landlords to meaningfully assist in these times of extreme hardship” through voluntarily given rebates in proportion to the drop in restaurants’ revenues and excluding revenues from deliveries.
Furthermore, RAS wrote that “Landlords should NOT be enjoying and insisting on collecting 100% rentals when their constituent tenants are unable (frustrated) from operating freely as contracted and make ends meet.”
The group called this practice “inequitable and unconscionable.”
One noteworthy signatory to RAS’ open letter is a Member of Parliament from the ruling People’s Action Party, Edward Chia Bing Hui, who has been part of the PAP team at Holland–Bukit Timah GRC since last year.
Mr Chia, an NUS Outstanding Young Alumni as well as a recipient of the Singapore Youth Award and the ASEAN Youth Award, is listed as an“Asst Hon Sec” for RAS.
He is also the co-chair of the National Environment Agency (NEA) workgroup focusing on sustaining the hawker trade and has been a known proponent for culinary talent in Singapore since 2005.
Earlier this year, he spoke in Parliament about the different manpower challenges Singaporean companies face, particularly in the F&B industry. /TISG
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