SINGAPORE - Food and beverage outlets and diners who breach safe management measures will now be penalised even for the first offence, instead of receiving warnings when they first do so, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday (Sept 9).
This move will kick in with immediate effect, the MOH said in a statement, given the risks associated with gatherings in such locations.
Sufficient time has also been given to establishments to adjust to the new measures.
Speaking during a multi-ministry task force press conference, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the enforcement agencies will also be stepping up checks.
"Most people are complying with these measures, but there are still a few breaches that we pick up literally on a daily basis, and they typically happen at the popular nightspots.
"You will see people drinking after 10.30pm, finding all sorts of ways to disguise their alcohol... You see people not wearing masks, you see gatherings of more than five, or perhaps people across multiple tables intermingling with one another," said Mr Wong.
This causes unnecessary risks for diners, and is also unfair to the majority of operators which are complying with the rules, he added.
Establishments that breach the rules will be fined or made to close, depending on the severity of the offence.
For instance, if multiple breaches of safe management measures are found in any one place, the authorities will require the premises to close and will also surface the case to the Attorney-General's Chambers for possible prosecution, the MOH said.
Since the start of phase two of Singapore's reopening, around 20 food and beverage establishments have been suspended, added MOH.
This includes a bar and two restaurants that were fined and suspended by the Singapore Food Agency last week.
Five establishments were also issued fines by Enterprise Singapore for failing to ensure a minimum 1m distance between groups of diners on Sunday.