Restaurants and bars ask for extra help, more collaborative approach, Singapore News & Top Stories


A few groups representing food and beverage establishments (F&B), some with members on the verge of closing, are calling on the government to provide further relief.

They hope for support for foreigners employed in the industry and a seat at the table in future decision-making that will impact the besieged sector.

In separate open letters to Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong on Thursday and yesterday, three coalitions – #savefnbsg, the Singapore Cocktail Bar Association (SCBA) and the beer industry Singapore Craft – have called for mandatory rent relief where discounts are passed directly to tenants and restaurants reopen for fully vaccinated people, among other calls.

The ministers co-chair the multi-ministerial working group to fight Covid-19.

The appeals come as the finance ministry yesterday announced a $ 1.1 billion Covid-19 relief plan that includes more rental relief and improved wage subsidies under the employment support program ( JSS) for businesses and workers.

JSS support has increased to 60% for sectors, including F&B, where the reinforced measures of phase two (heightened alert) require them to suspend their meals from Thursday to August 18.

#savefnbsg, which represents more than 500 restaurants, including Michelin-starred ones, calls for JSS measures to be extended to foreign workers.

He is also calling for an exemption to the levies on foreign workers and the fees related to work permits.

The collective said, “These hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying individuals have contributed a lot to Singapore’s food scene and economy, but there is no support for them, treated like s. ‘they did not exist in the local workforce. “

The SCBA is urging the government to consider raising the JSS to 75% – the same as during last year’s breaker – for businesses that have already overcome three phases of dinner ban rules.

But as companies consider lifting the current restrictions on August 19, #savefnbsg is also hoping for a more collaborative approach, where the F&B industry is engaged for future decisions.

“Sudden shutdowns without enough time to plan and organize resources have repeatedly impacted the industry, causing unnecessary burden,” his letter said.

Collaboration is also something the SCBA seeks.

In its letter, the SCBA, which has more than 60 members, said that “any further tightening of the rules in the restaurant and catering industry can be counterproductive, as it can make our tired employees look means to get around regulations and go against our goal of keeping Singapore safe. “

#savefnbsg and the SCBA are both calling for the rules to be relaxed to allow fully vaccinated people to eat dinner. Half of Singapore’s population has been fully vaccinated as of July 19.

Other requests include zero-interest working capital loans or the deferral of principal bridging loan repayments until June of next year, and permission to play background music in theaters when they reopen. .

In addition, the SCBA is asking for the extension of alcohol sales hours until midnight. The current cut-off time for the sale and consumption of alcohol is 10:30 p.m.

The craft beer industry has also petitioned government departments, demanding equal treatment with the rest of the F&B industry.

The letter, representing 16 breweries, 13 distributors and 32 retailers, noted that craft beer distributors and breweries are not eligible for various programs such as rent subsidies and enhanced support from the JSS. Only some were able to benefit from relief programs, after appealing to the authorities.

“The same fixed costs of labor and rent also affect us, and it is infuriating that we constantly have to appeal to the Iras (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) to be treated the same as catering services for grants that will allow us to overcome a foreclosure that affects an entire F&B ecosystem, ”the letter said.

Anjali Raguraman

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