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Stories of verbal abuse by unvaxxed patrons remind us to be kinder to F&B staff

Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Written by Ariel C.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who managed to book early vaccination appointments, I’m sure you’re rejoicing at the fact that you can now dine in with your (fully vaccinated) friends. While most of us are happy, F&B establishments are once again struggling to shoulder the weight of the pandemic’s impact—enforcing safe distancing between tables and guests, navigating the unpredictability of dining in restrictions, and now, verifying that customers are fully vaccinated before they are granted entry into eating establishments.

For every Singaporean who’s fully vaccinated and dining responsibly, there are a handful more who have devised ways to cheat their way into F&B establishments despite the TraceTogether App’s new update, or in this case, making things difficult for employees at dining establishments who are just abiding by the law.

Earlier this week, LG Han, chef-owner of Restaurant Labyrinth, took to Facebook to share an experience where a member of his staff was verbally assaulted. After denying entry to a customer who was not fully vaccinated at the time of his reservation and refusing to refund his deposit, the irate customer lost his temper at the staff, who was merely trying to follow the law.

Restaurant Labyrinth was not the only F&B establishment who has had to suffer the wrath of irresponsible Singaporeans. Since the reopening of dining establishments, chefs and owners have unfortunately been on the receiving end of tongue lashings.

Chef-owner Alan Lee of Greenwood Fish Market reported that a Korean customer showed up without a valid vaccination certificate and the TraceTogether app. As a result of being denied service in the restaurant in compliance with government regulations, the diners created a loud scene at the hostess’ stand and left without paying for their cocktails.

Netizens have taken to social media sites to show their support for F&B employees who stood their ground in the face of such verbal tirades, with many condemning the lack of consideration displayed from such individuals. However, these incidents are not few and far between, and despite newly-lifted dining-in restrictions, Singaporeans have resorted to trying to cheat their way into restaurants.

Chef Taro Takayama of Takayama Singapore said that an employee had to turn down two customers and forfeit their deposit. These customers’ vaccination statuses had not yet been reflected in their TraceTogether app, but tried to scam their way in through screenshots of their friend’s profiles.

F&B establishments are not the only victims of the Singaporeans’ lack of consideration—a 46 year old man was arrested for flashing the middle finger, hurling vulgarities, and urinating in public after Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs) spotted him without a mask on. Earlier this year, multiple individuals were also arrested for verbally abusing SDAs when they were spotted without their masks on.

It’s undeniable that the pandemic has taken a huge emotional and mental toll on all Singaporeans, and it behooves all of us to remember that F&B staff and SDAs are just doing their job by enforcing these laws. It’s important to remember that people are turned away because these establishments have to bear responsibility for their patrons, on top of protecting the safety and wellbeing of fully-vaccinated guests who are dining in.

F&B businesses also have to shoulder the costs of wasted food and resources when reservations are voided due to incomplete vaccination statuses. So while unconventional, our support to these establishments can also come in the form dining in only when we’re fully vaccinated. If you’ve yet to be vaccinated, or are waiting for your vaccine to take effect, you can still support F&B establishments through takeaway and delivery.

Navigating the pandemic and dining-in regulations requires the united cooperation from both patrons and staff alike, all of whom should be treated with compassion and be shown the kinder side of our Singapore spirit.

Other articles you might like:

The TraceTogether App gets an update — animations & a refresh button as new features

Fully vaccinated persons can now apply for the ‘vaccine passport’ on Notarise — here’s how

Behind the scenes of Q-commerce: A day at Pandamart

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