Coronavirus: Police and SFA say whether eatery should close depends on its licence type

Shops in Boat Quay on March 28, 2020.
Shops in Boat Quay on March 28, 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The authorities have clarified that whether an eatery is allowed to remain open during this period depends on its licence type, following some confusion among bar owners over whether the closure of nightclubs applies to them.

Those with restaurant or snack bar licences may continue to operate if they cease all public entertainment such as the performance of live music, the police and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Tuesday (March 31).

Other outlets where the serving of food and beverage remains their primary function, with licences to run as canteens, coffee shops or eating houses and foodcourts, are also allowed to keep receiving customers.

For these places, safe distancing measures should be put in place or operators could still risk being charged under the Infectious Diseases Act, which comes with a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The closure of public entertainment venues, such as nightclubs and cinemas, until April 30 was announced on March 24 by the Government to prevent them from becoming nodes for community spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, sports bar Hero's in Boat Quay became the first nightspot here to emerge as a cluster, with five confirmed cases, after the new regulation came into force last Thursday night.

The police and the SFA reiterated that public entertainment outlets that hold other licences, including karaoke lounge, bar and pub licenses, must stop trade immediately.

Those with amusement centre, billiard saloon, computer games centre, paintball games centre and axe-throwing centre licences can also no longer hold activities.

The Government has already directed all ad hoc public entertainment events to be deferred or cancelled, regardless of their size.

 
 
 

The announcement has led many nightclub operators to worry about their livelihoods, given the possibility that the mandated closure could be extended beyond its current end date.