Hi everyone. My name is Sid, and I'm the owner of Vatos Urban Tacos at South Beach and Vatos Cantina at Holland Village. I'm not sure if the admin will allow this post, but I felt the need to directly address consumers regarding a couple of safe distancing incidents at my restaurants (or lack of safe distancing I should say).
Last night at South Beach, two tables of 5 that were next to each other continued to mingle and socialize despite at least 3 or 4 warnings by my staff. Every time we asked them to stop, the guests would say "okay, okay", and then 5 minutes later, they would begin mingling again. About 20 minutes later, a social distancing officer came in and told us that if he came back again and ever saw something like this again, we would be fined and shut down.
Tonight at Holland Village, a table of 4 and a table of 3 also kept mingling and socializing. My manager told them to stop, nicely at first, but when they ignored her completely, she became more stern. Ultimately, we had to ask both tables to leave the premises. The guests refused. When my manager called me, I told her that we had no choice but to call the police, which she did. At that moment, a passerby took a photo of the group of 7, approached one of my staff, and told her that they were going to report us for violating safe distancing regulations.
For customers, breaching the safe distancing regulations might not seem that important, but for restaurants, it's literally a matter of life or death. Many F&B establishments are barely hanging on as it is - a massive fine and 10 days of mandatory shut down could easily be the final nail in the coffin. The livlihoods of many of our staff also depends on our staying open, so please try to be more understanding.
The guests in the above incident at Holland Village left before the police officers arrived. If they had stayed, I would imagine another potential Robertson Quay scenario playing itself out, which would be unfortunate for everyone involved. Please do not put restaurants in this type of situation. If it came down to it, I'm sure most restaurant owners would choose their and their staffs' livelihoods over a group of expats being deported.
The rules, whether you agree with them or not, are for everyone. And as you may know, they will be strictly enforced. I implore you all to please not be a$$holes when dining out and help follow safe distancing protocols. Thank you.