Prominent Indian restaurant in Singapore to be charged in court for breaching COVID-19 measures

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Singapore’s leading Indian restaurant chain “Banana Leaf Apolo” will be charged in a court next week with breaching multiple safe management measures, including having a self-service buffet, at its outlet in the Little India precinct.

This came as the authorities stepped up inspections at food and beverage premises, malls and other public spaces over the past week to ensure compliance with safe management measures during the Chinese New Year period beginning this week.

The restaurant chain will be charged in court on February 17 over failing to ensure that the gathering of individuals on its premises did not exceed the maximum group size allowed, not enforcing at least one metre of safe distancing between seated customers, for providing a self-service buffet of food for consumption, and for allowing customers to make speeches and play a video recording in the outlet, The Straits Times reported.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) filed a Magistrate’s Complaint on January 20 against Banana Leaf Apolo for multiple breaches under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020.

The restaurant serves meals on banana leaf following the meal serving tradition in some southern Indian states.

The ministry said 102 individuals and 12 F&B premises were penalised for breaches during the week.

Among these, six F&B outlets have been ordered to close, while five outlets and 29 people were fined for breaching safe management measures, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) in a press release on Wednesday.

A total of 73 individuals were also issued fines for breaching COVID-19 regulations at parks and beaches.

As a result of the ramped-up enforcement, crowd size in Chinatown has also shrunk by about 20 per cent compared with the week before, as the enhanced crowd control measures started last Friday, added the ministry.

As Singapore celebrates the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) from Friday, Chinatown has been a favourite precinct for picking up Chinese-origin goodies and products.

Meanwhile, Singapore reported 15 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including one from a migrant workers’ dormitory.

The other 14 were imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice on arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The latest cases bring Singapore’s total COVID-19 cases to 59,747.

Meanwhile, a 41-year-old Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member who was on a turnaround flight to the UAE was reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. She is the fifth person on that aircraft to have tested positive.

All five have also tested preliminarily positive for the more infectious B117 strain of the coronavirus, said the Ministry.

The air stewardess departed Singapore on the January 30 flight to Dubai and returned on February 1 without disembarking from the aircraft.

She also received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on February 2.

“As the vaccine does not contain live virus, she could not have been infected due to vaccination,” said the Ministry.

“It is possible for one to be infected just before or just after vaccination, as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination,” it said.

She developed anosmia – loss of the sense of smell – on February 4, but did not seek medical attention, according to the Ministry.

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