Forum: Lessons from UK's eating out scheme

People walk past a take-out restaurant with an "Eat Out To Help Out" poster in Luton, England, on Aug 6, 2020.
People walk past a take-out restaurant with an "Eat Out To Help Out" poster in Luton, England, on Aug 6, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

Recently, the United Kingdom rolled out a scheme known as Eat Out To Help Out. The purpose was to give customers an incentive to eat in a restaurant by providing them with a discount which could then be claimed from the government by the establishment.

This idea was introduced to boost consumer spending in the struggling hospitality industry, which was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the Eat Out To Help Out scheme was launched, 83,000 businesses signed up. This strategy was widely welcomed by the public which led to a surge in eating out. But, due to the crowds at restaurants, the number of Covid-19 cases increased.

As Singapore's food industry has also been affected by Covid-19, a similar scheme could be adopted here. More government incentives for food delivery could be given to help the industry recover yet prevent crowding at food outlets leading to a spread in infections.

Sara Shriram, 17,

Year 1 IB student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2020, with the headline 'Lessons from UK's eating out scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe