Booze ban hits Robertson Quay after carousing crowds defy rules (Photos)

Crowds gather Saturday outside restaurants at Robertson Quay. Photos: Lectress Pat/Facebook
Crowds gather Saturday outside restaurants at Robertson Quay. Photos: Lectress Pat/Facebook

Restaurants along Robertson Quay have been barred from selling takeaway alcohol after photos of groups drinking there surfaced online. 

In announcing the new measure yesterday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said that the sale of alcohol, even for consumption off the premises, had contributed to crowds gathering there nonetheless, which is not allowed under Singapore’s COVID-19 regulations. 

“To prevent such gatherings from taking place, we have issued a written direction to these restaurants to cease the sale of takeaway alcohol with immediate effect,” the authority announced.

This came after photos were posted online Saturday by user Lectress Pat showing crowds gathering outside restaurants on steps, at tables and along paths to drink and hang out. Some of the people shown were not wearing face masks. 

Singapore’s bars have been shut since March due to the coronavirus. Eateries have been allowed to sell food and drinks, but only for takeaway. 

In her post, Lectress Pat also alleged that “nothing” was done to stop the Robertson Quay crowds. 

“While there were 2 enforcers & 1 police officer along the Alexandra [Park Connector Network], there was not a single enforcer at sight in [Robertson Quay] which is like 5-minutes away, and it was observed that staff of these F&B establishments did nothing to stop these people from drinking at their premise nor did they remove the standing tables,” she wrote online.

It was a contrast to areas like public housing estates, she said, where many safe-distancing monitors can be seen checking on Singaporeans to make sure they are wearing masks and standing a meter apart. 

“Such wayward actions by these black sheeps will only jeopardize local community & frontline efforts to recover from the pandemic,” she added.

One restaurant affected by the ban was Tap. The business said in a statement yesterday that the tables where people were seen drinking outside its premises did not belong to them. 

“As many of you may know by now, photos of our beloved outlet at Robertson Quay has been featured in a particular story discussing people drinking at tables within the area,” it said. 

“Although these tables did not belong to our restaurant, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight to everyone the importance of respecting and adhering to the rules set up by the current circuit breaker measures. Please do not consume your food and drinks while outside, whether or not a restaurant has an available table,” it added. 

There are at least 10 food establishments in the area including cafes Botany and Toby’s Estate, and Japanese restaurant Dashi Master Marusaya.

Singapore has reported 28,038 COVID-19 cases since January. The death toll stands at 22. 

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