Bencoolen Street hostel suspended for letting guests check in for leisure purposes

SINGAPORE – A hostel has been ordered to suspend operations for 30 days for flouting Covid-19 safe management measures.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) ordered Hawaii Hostel in Bencoolen Street to suspend operations from Oct 11 to Nov 9 after investigations revealed that the hostel had permitted more than 260 guests to check in for leisure purposes since Sept 17.

“Hostel operators are reminded that leisure bookings are currently not permitted. They should also comply with all safe management measures to safeguard the health and well-being of our people, and prevent new clusters from forming,” STB said.

On Sunday (Oct 18), STB said its officers also found that Hawaii Hostel previously made false statements to safe distancing ambassadors, stating its customers were long-term guests instead of guests on leisure bookings. The hostel had also failed to record guests’ purpose of stay.

The hostel is not permitted to accept new bookings or accept check-ins during its suspension.

As hostels are close-living quarters, where non-related individuals are likely to come into close contact with one another in enclosed spaces and for prolonged periods of time, there is a high risk of virus transmission associated with the physical setting.

STB’s regular enforcement checks also found two establishments that were conducting business despite not being permitted to do so.

On Oct 9, STB officers found that a bar at Concord Shopping Centre, 72 Mad Monk, was open despite not having a valid food shop licence.

The establishment also allowed customers to play pool and consume alcohol past 10.30pm.

In another instance, STB officers conducted checks at Kris Bollywood, located in Concorde Hotel, on Oct 10 and found two people consuming alcohol on the premises past 10.30pm.

Both businesses are now under investigation.

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Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, first-time offenders may be fined up to $10,000. They may be fined  up to $20,000 for subsequent offences.

Between Oct 6 and Oct 14, STB issued fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 to 16 individuals for failing to wear a mask. Since the start of Singapore’s phase two of reopening, checks have been stepped up on tourism establishments and precincts.

Chuan Yang Ji Mutton Soup Steamboat was one of five F&B establishments that were fined for failing to ensure safe distancing between customers. PHOTO: STB

Five food and beverage establishments were also fined for breaching safe management measures this month, including Bagus Sio Good, Chuan Yang Ji Mutton Soup Steamboat and Beauty in a Pot.

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