Long queues were spotted at various bubble tea shops across Singapore on Tuesday night (21 April), after the Government announced that it will impose tighter restrictions on food and beverage (F&B) outlets amid the circuit breaker period.
Earlier on 21 April, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce released a statement on the suspension of specialised stores and outlets retailing predominantly beverages, confectionaries, packages snacks and desserts, as well as F&B outlets, which takes effect at 11.59pm on the same day.
The circuit breaker period was extended until 1 June, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a televised address yesterday.
Shortly after, photos and videos of long queues at bubble tea shops in many parts of the country were circulated on social media as many Singaporeans flocked to bubble tea stores to get their one last boba before the suspension took effect.
Here are some of the photos that were uploaded by Malaysia Atrium Sale Facebook page:
One bubble tea lover, Faith Liang, who also rushed to buy a bubble tea when the news broke, shared with TODAY the situations that she witnessed at the bubble tea shops she had visited.
According to Ms Liang, she decided to go to a “less than popular” bubble tea shop named U-Cha after seeing the massive crowd in front of Liho. Upon arriving at U-Cha, she saw 10 people were already lining up and she had to wait for 15 to 20 minutes to get her bubble tea.
“It’s a staple comfort drink, like eating ice cream for me. I don’t know how long I will have to wait to be able to have it again,” she remarked.
Ms Liang added that there were more than 20 people behind her when she collected her bubble tea.
Meanwhile, there were many Singaporeans who ordered their final bubble tea via delivery platforms as well. In one photo uploaded by All Singapore Stuff, a number of delivery riders were seen waiting outside of Gong Cha.
Another bubble tea lover, Voon Yueqi, who spoke to TODAY, said that she tried ordering from Gong Cha via Deliveroo at 7.15pm but the order was cancelled an hour later as the shop was closing.
Ms Voon was devastated and felt unsure about when she could have a bubble tea again.
“Bubble tea is my ‘comfort food’. It makes me feel better during this time (when most activities are restricted),” she noted.
On the other hand, Miss Lim, who works temporarily as a delivery rider with GrabFood, asserted that some online customers have left her “speechless” as they insisted on getting their bubble tea despite the fact that stores have run out of stocks or ingredients.
“I understand that there are people who love bubble tea and can’t go without it for a month or more. The point is, drivers and riders were putting their health at risk waiting hours for orders, just so that people may have their ‘last’ drink,” Miss Lim said.
“When the outlets ran out of stock or ingredients due to the sudden increase in orders and when riders or drivers called up customers to cancel orders, there were people who insisted that they wanted their drinks no matter what. To quote one customer, ‘I don’t care, I want my order today’,” she added.
It seems that the closure of bubble tea stores has also sparked arguments in public. All Singapore Stuff Facebook page uploaded a footage that showed a delivery rider yelling at the staff of a bubble tea store. However, it’s unclear what the argument was about.