Singapore fines Jollibee for violating safe distancing rules
SINGAPORE (UPDATED) – The Singaporean government slapped a fine of S$1,000 (P35,700) on a local branch of the Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee for violating the city-state's safe distancing measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said they have imposed a fine of S$1,000 on the Jollibee branch next to Causeway Point in Singapore "for not observing safe distancing measures."
In particular, said ESG and STB, the Jollibee branch "failed to ensure proper crowd management and allowed delivery personnel to crowd together without one-meter spacing between one another."
The ESG and STB attached to their statement a photo of drivers of GrabFood, a food delivery service, crowding a Jollibee queue in Singapore. The GrabFood drivers can be seen standing outside boxes designated for safe distancing.
In a statement on Tuesday, April 14, Jollibee confirmed the incident, and said it took place on Sunday, April 12. Jollibee explained that a staff member of its Woodlands MRT branch failed to fully manage the queue, resulting in a lapse in physical distancing.
"Jollibee Singapore sincerely apologizes for this and has consequently further intensified its social distancing measures and implementation. Jollibee Singapore has also requested the help of its third-party delivery rider partners to cooperate with its branches' staff to follow these protocols for everyone's safety," said the fast-food chain.
A popular brand even among Singaporeans, Jollibee has at least 10 outlets in Singapore, according to local news website Mothership.
Jollibee is among 3 establishments fined by Singapore over the long weekend from April 10 to 12 that covers the Good Friday holiday. "If these stores continue to flout the rules, they will face higher fines and can be charged in court," said the ESG and STB.
Over the same long weekend, Singapore instructed 30 other businesses to close shop because they remained open even if they provided only non-essential services.
The ESG and STB warned: "Businesses found to have failed to comply with the elevated safe distancing measures will face immediate penalties, such as composition fines. Businesses are reminded to take the elevated safe distancing measures very seriously. They must ensure proper implementation and constant compliance with the measures."
Singapore recently stepped up its battle against COVID-19, imposing its strictest measures yet to stop the spread of the disease. The city-state is on "circuit-breaker" mode from April 7 to May 4, during which schools and non-essential businesses have to be closed.
During this circuit-breaker period, Singapore also bans dining in at restaurants and allows food purchases only by takeout or delivery. Singaporeans also need to stand one meter apart from each other in queues, and are prohibited from joining social gatherings of any size.
Individual violators of safe distancing rules will be slapped a fine of S$300 (P10,700) at first offense, while repeat offenders can face higher penalties or even prosecution in court, said Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Masagos Zulkifli.
Singapore has had at least 2,532 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, April 12. Of this number, at least 560 have been discharged from the hospital while 8 have died.
The Philippine embassy in Singapore said that as of Friday, April 10, at least 44 Filipinos in Singapore have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Of this number, 17 have been discharged. – Rappler.com
S$1 = P35.76