Coronavirus: Restaurants making sure safety measures carried out to keep customers safe

Food and beverage operators are doing their best to comply with regulations. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From implementing digital menus to providing antiseptic wipes for utensils, eateries here are doing all they can for diners to avoid becoming the next Covid-19 weak link.

A spokesman for the Restaurant Association of Singapore, which has more than 470 members, told The Straits Times that food and beverage (F&B) operators are doing their best to comply with regulations, such as putting up signs to remind customers of safety measures and for staff to ensure diners put their masks back on when they are no longer eating.

He said: "Being in the service industry, naturally all F&B operators will gently remind and encourage their customers that they should be putting back on their masks when they are done with their meals."

Mr Andrew Tjioe, chief executive of TungLok Group, said that in addition to safety measures such as temperature taking for all diners and staff, the group's restaurants have also implemented other precautions.

These include providing customers with food grade disinfecting wipes to clean their utensils before dining, and having plastic partitions in between tables at some of the restaurants.

TungLok Group has 15 restaurant brands here including Dancing Crab and TungLok Signatures.

Mr Tjioe said: "Dine-in business is gradually returning, as many are still cautious about visiting public places.

"But putting in place all the safety measures has definitely given our diners more confidence in visiting us.

"Many have given us positive feedback and expressed their appreciation for the measures that we have implemented."

He added that staff have also been briefed to remind customers to put their masks back on when no longer eating or drinking.

He said: "Most diners have been mindful of this without being reminded. The remaining are receptive of it without constant reminders."

Mr Loh Lik Peng, director of restaurant group Unlisted Collection, which runs 18 food establishments including Burnt Ends, agreed that customers and employees have taken to the safety measures well.

He said: "We require our patrons to cooperate with us to ensure everyone is safe and I do genuinely believe that almost all of our patrons recognise we do this for their own good. So far we have encountered little difficulty with enforcing the rules."

He added that ensuring safety measures such as social distancing and contact tracing have become "second nature" for employees.

He said: "It's as important as the service and the cooking."

Some of the group's restaurants have also implemented time limits for diners to ensure that more customers can be served and staff have enough time to sanitise tables .

For example, The Market Grill has a limit of 1.5 hours for each table. Customers are also encouraged to make reservations online.

Enterprise Singapore said in a statement last month that the agency had issued three composition fines to F&B outlets since the start of phase two.

Two composition fines of $1,000 were issued to restaurants for failing to implement safe distancing. One fine of $300 was issued to an employee of a food outlet for not wearing a mask when preparing food and taking orders.

Manager Frederick Tan, 38, said his family has been eating out about twice a week since the start of phase two.

The father of two said: "We try to go out on weekday nights when it is not too crowded and we make sure to sanitise our hands before eating.

"It's been good to be able to get out of the house and seeing the safety measures taken by restaurants. We feel safe."

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