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President of Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) Andrew Kwan has called on the authorities to ease the dine-in restrictions in Singapore.

Currently, only a maximum of two fully-vaccinated individuals can dine in at hawker centres, coffeeshops and other food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Singapore.

Allowing families to dine in at restaurants

In an Oct. 9 post on RAS’ LinkedIn page, Kwan urged the government to allow fully vaccinated nuclear families living in the same household — including children — to be allowed to dine in at restaurants together again.

Kwan said: “Such a family eating within the confines of their home or within a restaurant does not add to infection risks when they mask off to share a meal together.”

He further explained that allowing families to dine in at restaurants “promotes familial bonding” and “provides a break” from home-based learning (HBL) and work from home (WFH) arrangements.

“A great meal with loved ones uplift the soul and spirit in mysterious and marvellous ways. On that note, a little music helps too.

And a little really goes a long way in this protracted fight with Covid. The easing of dine-in restrictions for fully vaccinated families will be much appreciated by all. “

Such a move would save the industry, his post rationalised.

New border measures cause ‘travel-imbalance’

Kwan also said that the new vaccinated travel lane (VTL) measures in Singapore will cause a “travel-imbalance” to Singapore’s F&B, retail and hospitality sectors.

He explained that although many Singaporeans would take advantage of the VTLs and travel overseas, the reverse is “unlikely”, given Singapore’s dine-in restrictions and safe management measures (SMMs).

This meant that those who choose to come here would think twice if activities are still restricted.

“Few, if any, overseas families would choose to fly to a destination with more Covid restrictive rules than where they came from.

Any city where they can’t eat, shop and play as freely as their hometown would surely be a ‘no fly zone’. Even if such an overseas family flew in inadvertently, can we imagine asking restaurant staff to explain that we can only sit two pax?

So with Singaporeans likely to be flying out en-masse and a trickle coming into Singapore (maximum capped at 3,000 pax daily), domestic F&B operators may see all remaining wind sucked out from our already flagging sails.”

Appreciative and grateful for government’s efforts

Despite his calls for the ease of restrictions, Kwan wrote that RAS appreciates how Singapore’s national leaders “took pains to explain the present circumstances and the way forward”.

He said that the healthcare protocols announced by the MTF were timely and helped restauranteurs manage their constrained manpower more efficiently.

Kwan also said RAS is grateful for the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and other support measures the government has provided.

However, he wrote:

“Rather than even more JSS and other support measures (of which we are most grateful for), we humbly ask that we be allowed to get back to serving our families and friends, responsibly and safely in this new post-vaccination Covid era.

In so doing, may the remaining faint, frail and failing embers of the F&B industry be lightly fanned to sustain an enduring flame, with this slight policy accommodation.”

You can read his full post here.

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Top image by Syahindah Ishak.

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