Businesses must take Covid-19 measures seriously or risk being shut down, warns task force

A social distancing ambassador monitoring the crowd entering Ion Orchard on June 20, 2020. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Businesses and offices here have to take safe management measures seriously or face consequences including the shutting down of operations, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong warned on Thursday (June 25).

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mr Wong said that the authorities will not hesitate to shut down operations immediately if there are egregious breaches.

These businesses and offices would have to close until they implement the proper precautions, he added. "This will impact the business."

Noting that there may be some that try to get around the rules and are still doing so, Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, cautioned: "If you take that sort of an attitude, you can be sure that at some point in time, someone will report the lapses that they see at your business premises."

He urged all businesses and offices to abide by the measures, adding that it is in their interest to do so.

"The consequences of that closure will be much worse for any business. So it is far better for all businesses to take the measures seriously and do their utmost now to comply with the full extend of the requirements," he added.

"It requires discipline, it requires some sacrifices. But collectively if we do this, we will stand a better chance of a safe and sustainable opening in phase two."

Under phase two of the re-opening of Singapore's economy which started last Friday, more businesses are now operating, and dining-in is also allowed at food and beverage outlets.

This has led to more people leaving their homes.

However, on June 19, the first day of phase two, crowds gathered to see fights that had broken out in Lorong Mambong in Holland Village.

A restaurant there, British Indian Curry Hut, was ordered to close because it failed to ensure safe management practices.

Images and videos circulated on social media at the weekend show scenes of overcrowding at the restaurant along Lorong Mambong after the fights broke out. Three people have since been arrested.

On that incident, Mr Wong said actions have been taken.

He noted: "We are continuing to monitor, whether it is food and beverage outlets or retail shops, and we will be very vigilant in our enforcement actions. If and when we see breaches happening, we will go in straight away to rectify them."

If it is a minor breach, the authorities will ask the business involved to do the necessary rectification actions, he added.

"If it is an egregious one, we will look at asking the business to close their operations until they can put the proper safe management measures in place."

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