SINGAPORE - Food and beverage operators saw a surge of last-minute bookings after Tuesday's announcement that dining in is no longer allowed from Thursday (July 22) to Aug 18 under Covid-19 phase two (heightened alert) rules.
Clan 7, a Chinese restaurant in Lorong Chuan by SF Group, is among those that received an influx of reservations for Wednesday. Mr Collin Ho, its chief executive, said that by 2pm, the restaurant was 70 per cent full for the day, and it was expected to pick up further before dinnertime.
Three-Michelin-starred French restaurant Les Amis started getting calls on Tuesday requesting tables for Tuesday evening and Wednesday, mainly from diners trying to move forward their cancelled bookings. However, the restaurant was already full for both days.
Another Western fine-dining restaurant Zen, which offers lunch only on Fridays and Saturdays, opened up bookings for lunch on Wednesday instead, and all 20 seats were taken up.
Its general manager and beverage director Aaron Jacobson said on Wednesday: "At 5pm yesterday, there was no booking but the tables were completely filled by 9pm. None was from diners who moved their reservations from Friday and Saturday."
He added: "We decided to add the Wednesday lunch service because the new impositions by the Government are disproportionately hard for fine-dining restaurants, as we are not geared for food to go. So we thought, let's add one more service while we can for our guests. We can also generate revenue to pay our staff at the end of the month."
Good Luck Beerhouse in Haji Lane, which serves local dishes like fried Hokkien mee and rendang burgers, offered a whole-day Happy Hour on Wednesday with a 15 to 20 per cent discount for its draft beers and tap cocktails.
Its spokesman said that it had received some reservations but not a tremendous spike. She added: "We get mostly walk-ins and our busy period is 7pm, so we are not sure how it will be tonight."
Some diners who made last-minute bookings said they were not worried about going out despite the spike in Covid-19 infections.
Mr Billy Ong, 41, who is self-employed, said he made a reservation at a Korean BBQ restaurant for lunch on Wednesday because he wanted to enjoy it one last time before going into phase two (heightened alert).
He added: "Especially for BBQ, you have to eat it at a restaurant because the quality and taste will be so much different when you order for takeaway."
Teacher Joey Inez, 20, also decided to dine out one last time on Wednesday at Ce La Vi in Marina Bay Sands. She said: "My anniversary with my boyfriend is tomorrow, July 22, but due to the new regulations, we changed it to today."
She added: "I do feel a little worried with the spike in cases. But because my boyfriend and I are fully vaccinated, I am a bit more reassured."
- Additional reporting by Sueanne Phee