Coronavirus: Singapore situation

Hostel ordered shut for 30 days after flouting safety rules

Since Sept 17, it had let over 260 guests check in for leisure purposes; 5 eateries also fined

The Singapore Tourism Board ordered Hawaii Hostel to suspend operations from Oct 11 to Nov 9.
The Singapore Tourism Board ordered Hawaii Hostel to suspend operations from Oct 11 to Nov 9.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

In one of the toughest penalties to date, a hostel has been ordered to suspend operations for 30 days for flouting Covid-19 safe management measures.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) ordered Hawaii Hostel in Bencoolen Street to suspend operations from Oct 11 to Nov 9 after investigations revealed the hostel had permitted more than 260 guests to check in for leisure purposes since Sept 17.

"Hostel operators are reminded that leisure bookings are currently not permitted. They should also comply with all safe management measures to safeguard the health and well-being of our people, and prevent new clusters from forming," STB said.

In a statement yesterday, STB said its officers also found that Hawaii Hostel previously made false statements to safe distancing ambassadors, stating its customers were long-term guests instead of guests on leisure bookings. The hostel had also failed to record its guests' purpose of stay.

The hostel is not permitted to accept new bookings or accept check-ins during its suspension.

As hostels are close-living quarters where non-related individuals are likely to come into close contact with one another in enclosed spaces and for prolonged periods of time, there is a high risk of virus transmission associated with the physical setting.

STB's regular enforcement checks also found two establishments conducting business despite not being permitted to do so.

On Oct 9, STB officers found that 72 Mad Monk, a bar at Concorde Shopping Centre, was open despite not having a valid food shop licence.

The establishment also allowed customers to play pool and consume alcohol past 10.30pm.

In another instance, on Oct 10, STB officers conducted checks at Kris Bollywood, located in Concorde Hotel, and found two people consuming alcohol on the premises past 10.30pm.

Both businesses are now under investigation.

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, first-time offenders may be fined up to $10,000. Subsequent offences may carry fines of up to $20,000.

Between Oct 6 and Oct 14, STB issued fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 to 16 people for failing to wear a mask. Since the start of phase two, checks have been stepped up at tourism establishments and precincts.

Five food and beverage establishments were also fined for breaching safe management measures this month.

Four of them - Bagus Sio Good at #01-07A Far East Plaza, Chuan Yang Ji Mutton Soup Steamboat at 211 South Bridge Road, The Hot Gathering at 32 Upper Cross Street and Komala's Restaurant at 330 Serangoon Road - had failed to ensure 1m safe distancing between seated customers.

The fifth, Beauty In The Pot at #05-16 The Centrepoint, had accepted a booking of six persons at the same table, one more than the five allowed under the law.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2020, with the headline 'Hostel ordered shut for 30 days after flouting safety rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe