If you had any doubts about the wisdom of Singapore’s decision to close all of its bars, the announcement that a popular Boat Quay watering hole is among three new local Covid-19 clusters will probably put them to rest.
Hero’s bar at 69 Circular Road has been identified as a cluster, with five confirmed coronavirus cases currently linked to it, according to the Ministry of Health.
The bar’s central location is another pertinent reminder of the threat that the coronavirus poses in Singapore’s financial district, and the need for finance professionals still working in the area to observe social distancing regulations.
As we were the first to report last week, a Bank of America employee in the firm’s OUE Bayfront offices has been diagnosed with Covid-19. In February, DBS evacuated 300 employees from Tower 3 of the Marina Bay Finance Centre, after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
Hero’s, a sprawling 2,500sq ft venue with a Wild West theme, is behind the heaving restaurants of Boat Quay and close to the headquarters of both OCBC and UOB, making it a popular afterwork hangout for finance professionals.
Singapore closed all bars, night clubs, cinemas and all other entertainment outlets from Thursday last week until 30 April because they pose a “high risk of transmission due to sustained close contact”. Venues such as restaurants and malls can stay open if social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
Hong Kong is keeping both bars and restaurants open, but announced last week that it will stop them from selling alcohol. The packed bars of the city’s Lan Kwai Fong district are potential venues for a community outbreak of cases – and earlier this month five confirmed coronavirus patients were reported to have been drinking in the area, which is close to many major banks.
Bankers we spoke with in Hong Kong and Singapore last week said the new regulations may hamper client relationships, but they are a necessary escalation in the cities’ efforts to tackle the continued spread of Covid-19.
Photo by Ashraf M on Unsplash
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