Thursday, 21 Jan 2021

Gemma Steakhouse at National Gallery ordered to shut for 20 days after Halloween dinner involving 75 people

SINGAPORE – Gemma Steakhouse at the National Gallery Singapore has been suspended for 20 days for holding a dinner for 75 guests on Oct 31 and not preventing them from mixing, in a flagrant violation of Covid-19 safe management measures, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE).

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), which comes under the ministry, found that a private member’s club had worked with the restaurant to organise the Halloween-themed dinner, which was attended by both members of the club and their guests.

Although the diners were seated at tables of up to five, closed-circuit television footage showed that they intermingled on multiple occasions, and failed to wear their masks even when they were not eating or drinking, the ministry said.

The footage also showed that the restaurant staff did not take reasonable steps to prevent the intermingling on their premises.

Social gatherings of more than five persons are prohibited under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. Food and beverage outlets are also barred from accepting bookings from groups of more than five, even if such groups are split across many tables. Intermingling between groups is also not allowed.

SFA has issued an order requiring the restaurant to close for 20 days from Thursday (Dec 3) to Dec 22, for accepting a large group booking, and for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent multiple instances of intermingling among diners.

The agency is still investigating possible breaches of the law by the other parties involved.

“The Government holds a serious view of flagrant breaches of safe management measures (SMMs),” the MSE said.

“Dining out is an activity that involves considerable risks. It entails gathering in enclosed spaces, without masks on, and for a prolonged duration. While the majority have been adhering to the measures, it is regrettable that there remains a minority which continue to breach SMMs,” it added.

“We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against operators and individuals who treat SMMs with flagrant disregard.”

The ministry also said that Covid-19 remains a grave threat, and a resurgence of infections – as seen elsewhere – could have devastating effects on lives and livelihoods.

Urging members of the public to be socially responsible, it added: “Our collective efforts will determine if we successfully make the transition to Phase Three, as we adapt to a new normal.”

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