Government Supplies a 1.1 Billion SGD Support Scheme, Restaurant Association Singapore Calls for Leniency Amongst Landlords
Earlier that week, the Restaurant Association of Singapore sent an open letter calling for the government to calls for the Singapore Government to mandate rental rebates from landlords, so that their tenants can continue to work, especially for the F&B sector.
"For the past 1 year and a half, F&B operators have been coping with the various additional SMM mandated requirements. And for most of the post-Circuit Breaker period, have been operating at a reduced seating capacity of 40% on average," states the open letter, signed by members of the Restaurant Association of Singapore. It outlined some calls to help, especially towards the landlords, including, " 1. Rental rebates from Landlords (not government) to be given VOLUNTARILY without the need for tenants to reach out to grovel for support each time Singapore goes into restricted safe mode.
2. Rental rebates from Landlords to be given IN PROPORTION to drop in revenues and excluding revenues from deliveries as they try hard to pivot.
3. Landlords should NOT be enjoying and insisting on collecting 100% rentals when their constituent tenants are unable (frustrated) from operating freely as contracted and make ends meet. It is inequitable and unconscionable. "
Now, the government has released something new: A $1.1 billion support package that includes enhanced wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), and rental relief, more support for drivers of taxis and private-hire vehicles and a new relief fund for market and hawker centre stallholders will be rolled out to cushion businesses and workers from the impact of harsher Covid-19 restrictions. This was announced by the Ministry of Finance, who unveiled these plans a day after the measures kicked in. "JSS support will be bumped up to 60 per cent for the hardest-hit sectors such as food and beverage, gyms and performing arts organisations, where the tightened measures require them to suspend many, if not all, of their activities," said the Ministry of Finance.
"In putting together this support package, the Government took into account feedback from workers and businesses, and engaged business and trade association leaders to understand their concerns," said the ministry in its statement, which comes ahead of a debate in Parliament next week on the package.
The RAS, in response to the new support package, thanked the government for understanding of the challenges that the F&B sector is facing now. " The first half of 2021 has been plagued with dine-in curbs as well as 1 month of total dine-in restriction, hence under the Rental Support Scheme, the additional four week rental waiver (for Government-owned commercial properties) and additional two week rental-relief cash payout (for privately-owned commercial properties), 60% JSS support, as well as funding support to defray food delivery costs from our government is both timely and critical for the survival of many of our F&B operators. We are also encouraged by the announcement that MOF is looking at how to require rental obligations to be shared fairly between the Government, landlords, and qualifying tenants, and we look forward to more details to follow." said the RAS in an open letter on their Facebook page.
"On behalf of F&B tenants, we once again call on landlords to meaningfully assist tenants in these times of extreme hardship. We also want to take this opportunity to strongly urge all our fellow Singaporeans and residents to jump on the national vaccination program quickly, so that more can be protected and we can turn this pandemic into an endemic, earlier rather than later."
The package will include enhancing the JSS scheme for businesses affected by the measures, including restaurants, gyms, performing arts organisations and other businesses; rental relief for commercial properties, support for market and stallholders, and an enhanced Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi, private-hire car drivers.
To read more on the package, please go to: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/11b-covid-19-relief-package-for-firms-and-workers-including-up-to-60-jss-support?fbclid=IwAR0OYGa2GTVR3fSdgyQJMRwsnmc_u9Su-JMORSeZj7KvL0ohIOHTZEGarZk