Duxton Hill Café Takes Responsibility For Not Ensuring Safe Distancing

Running a food and beverage (F&B) business is no easy task, and it’s been made more difficult due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On top of their usual operations, businesses have to make sure they observe safe distancing measures or risk punishment.

A café-cum-bar in Duxton Hill found that out the hard way when they were slapped with an order to close for 10 days.

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The order is a blow to them, they candidly said, as Singapore will allow 5 people per table to dine in from 12 Jul.

Thus, they urged customers to be responsible and follow the rules – or their business will be punished for it.

Premises closed till 17 Jul

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (7 Jul), Parallel Coffee Roasters said that they’ll unfortunately be closed till 17 Jul.

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This includes Yen Bar, a bar on the same premises that the café turns into at night.

That’s after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) sent them a notice to close from 7 Jul.

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As the closure will be for 10 days, it will last till 16 Jul.

They failed to ensure seats are 1m apart

The reason for the punishment: They failed to ensure that every seat is at least 1m apart.

Photo for illustration purposes only.
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This rule is based on the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

It says that the back of every chair – or legs if there’s no back – is at least 1m away from every other chair or table.

Customers moved inside to avoid rain

Parallel Coffee Roasters explained how the breach happened.

On the night of 2 Jul – a Friday – they had a full house of customers.

As it had just rained, customers who were sitting outside had to move inside to avoid getting wet.

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That meant that they were unable to seat their customers as far apart as was necessary.

Officers came for a spot check

Unfortunately, at 9.39pm, enforcement officers arrived for a spot check.

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That’s when they caught the rule breaches.

Café takes full responsibility

After explaining themselves, the café said it wasn’t an excuse, though.

Thus, they took full responsibility for the offence, adding,

It is still our responsibility to ensure safe distancing measures are in place no matter the circumstances. We agree, and we will do better.

Closure is a blow to them

The café was also honest in admitting that the 10-day closure would be a blow to them.

Besides the loss of income, it also means that they won’t be able to take full advantage when the 5-person dining allowance returns on 12 Jul.

They’ll have to wait for 5 days before being able to welcome groups of 5 again.

They urge customers to cooperate with F&B businesses

Thus, they urged customers to cooperate with not just them, but all F&B businesses.

When asked to follow safe distancing measures, patrons should be “responsible and understanding”, they said.

Customers need to understand that the Government sets the rules, but it’s the responsibility of the F&B establishment to enforce them.

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And if they don’t, it’s the business that suffers, with the café empathically saying,

Our livelihoods are on the line.

They also hope that if anything, their closure will show patrons that the authorities aren’t kidding about strictly enforcing safe distancing.

Just look to them for a convincing example.

Officers ‘rude, condescending and unprofessional’

Towards the end of the post, Parallel Coffee Roasters changed tack to call out the officers from URA who visited the establishment.

They took issue with the attitude of 2 of them, whom they referred to only as “officers J and J”.

The café described them as “rude, condescending and unprofessional” when they interacted with staff and customers.

This was “highly disappointing”, they added.

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Café urges for respect

Ultimately the café urged officers to have respect for service staff, even though they’re there to enforce the rules.

They advised SDAs to “consider their tone” and officers to “uphold a higher standard of professionalism”.

It would be regrettable indeed if the behaviour of these enforcement officers serves to reinforce the perception of service staff as from a “lower class”, they added.

Kudos for their candour

Kudos to Parallel Coffee Roasters. Though they made a mistake, at least they’ve taken responsibility for it.

They’ve also responded with refreshing candour by explaining what happened and how it affects them.

We sympathise with their troubles, as they’re effectively caught between pleasing customers and following the law.

Hopefully, when they can reopen, they can recoup their losses quickly and take steps to prevent such a situation from happening again.

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Featured images adapted from Instagram and Facebook.