Coronavirus pandemic

Many eateries ready for dine-in, but some caught unawares

Many eateries say they are ready to seat diners again on Friday after a thorough cleaning of their premises.

Restaurateur Karen Cheng said all her three Japanese outlets - Sushi Kimura in Palais Renaissance, Ichigo Ichie in Robertson Quay and The Gyu Bar in Stevens Road - will be open for dine-in.

She said: "We had already implemented social distancing measures before the circuit breaker."

The restaurants also plan to adopt QR code menus and contactless payment.

Burnt Ends in Teck Lim Road will reopen on Friday too. Chef-owner Dave Pynt said his staff are going through practice runs on how service will be run to ensure everyone's safety.

Government rules stipulate that groups cannot comprise more than five people and tables have to be at least 1m apart.

LeVeL33 at the Marina Bay Financial Centre is ready as well.

Said Dr Martin Bem, founding managing director of the Western restaurant known for its stunning views of the bay: "We have been preparing for this moment for weeks as we expected a short lead time once the Government allows dining in again."

It will offer a new menu that is easier to order from, with less interaction with the staff, and have each table served by only one waiter.

The White Restaurant, which is famous for popularising the white beehoon dish, will resume dining in at all its six outlets, including at Jewel Changi Airport.

Owner Victor Tay said he is planning to implement e-queueing, as the eateries do not accept reservations, as well as QR code ordering and payment, but these may not be ready by Friday.

Chinese restaurant operator Tung-Lok Group will open 18 of its 25 outlets for dine-in on Friday. These have been offering takeaways and deliveries during the past two months.

Four other outlets will reopen from July 1. And its three eateries in Resorts World Sentosa will stay closed until the integrated resort restarts completely.

Its chief executive Andrew Tjioe said many of the staff had been redeployed to its manufacturing and catering arms and cannot be moved back so quickly.

Some restaurants, however, were caught unawares by the Government's announcement on Monday evening that dining in will resume on Friday.

Firebake, a Western restaurant and bakehouse in East Coast Road, said it is not ready to reopen as it is facing staff issues. It does not have an opening date yet.

Said founder Konstantino Blokbergen: "In the last two months, our Malaysian staff returned home and we are not likely to find the manpower required for dine-in this week."

Meanwhile, reservations have started coming in.

The ilLido Group, which runs a chain of Italian food and beverage outlets, received bookings the moment the news broke. Owner Beppe de Vito said three restaurants, Art, Amo and Braci, are full for the weekend.

Dr Bem of LeVeL33 is worried the enthusiasm may be short-lived.

He said: "People are yearning to go out again and meet friends. But the challenge will be the regular business during the week, as we are in the CBD (Central Business District) area where remote working is still preferred.

"Also, landlords may consider 'open for dining in' as a go-ahead to resume normal rent. That can drive many restaurants out of business."