Some S’pore Nightspots Will Reopen By December Under Pilot Scheme

Since the end of March, karaoke and other entertainment venues in Singapore have been forced to close following the government’s COVID-19 advisory.

According to the Accounting and Business Regulatory Authority (ACRA), 59 nightclubs, discos, dance and karaoke clubs found themselves in the first six months of the year as they struggled with income. no.

That is why the government announced yesterday (November 6) that some nightlife companies would be allowed to resume operations under a new two to three month pilot program.

Selected nightlife venues may reopen by December or January under strict security management measures, such as wearing masks on the dance floor or while singing, and presenting proof of COVID-19 testing negatives before entering.

Which establishments will reopen?

bang bang nightclub singapore
Image Credit: Bang Bang Singapore

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of the Interior (MHA) said in a joint statement that they were “working with various professional nightlife associations to identify a small number of nightlife establishments. to participate in pilot projects ”.

They engaged key stakeholders, including industry associations representing various groups of nightlife operators, and will allow associations to nominate suitable establishments to participate in the pilot.

Then, they will jointly assess the designated establishments, taking into account their proposals for implementing the prescribed security management measures, and their profile or type of company to ensure the diversity of establishments participating in the pilot.

The ministries have said they may also consider establishments of economic or social importance that are strongly supported by other government agencies like the Singapore Tourism Board, but they will not consider independent applications from establishments. which have not been designated by the associations.

Pilot to start in December or January for different spots

The two-month pilot project for pubs and bars is expected to start in December.

However, the pilot project for karaoke establishments and nightclubs will not start until January of next year.

rapid covid-19 antigen test
Image Credit: Eric Gaillard via Reuters

Customers entering the premises will be required to test negative for Covid-19 within the last 24 hours via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a rapid antigen test (ART).

MTI and MHA said testing can be implemented by pilot facilities on-site, or as a requirement for clients to visit clinics offering this service before attending nightlife joints.

They added that the pilot project for karaoke and nightclubs will also last longer for three months, as it takes longer to assess the industry’s readiness to reopen.

This is due to “much higher risks and more stringent sound management measures required”.

zouk clubbing mask
Image Credit: Zouk

Strict security management measures will include ensuring that all guests wear masks at all times, even on the dance floor or singing in karaoke. They will only be allowed to remove the masks while eating and drinking.

In accordance with current regulations, alcohol cannot be sold, served or consumed after 10:30 p.m. either.

In addition, closed circuit television cameras covering all common areas and rooms used for activities should be activated.

Records of these, kept for at least 28 days, will be regularly reviewed by law enforcement agencies. Those who violate the measures will not only be subject to sanctions under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act of 2020, but may be kicked out of the pilot.

What about those that are not selected for the pilot?

capital lounge zouk
Image: Zouk

Nightlife establishments that are not participating in the pilots will receive financial support packages either to move into food and beverage operations or to go out with a one-time payment.

Nightlife businesses wishing to move into catering or other commercial uses such as offices or gyms will be able to apply for a grant of up to S $ 50,000 from Enterprise Singapore (ESG) until March 31st. ‘next year.

This is to offset costs incurred during the pivot process, such as equipment costs and third-party consulting.

For companies that have already pivoted, ESG will support them on a case-by-case basis.

Alternatively, companies looking to quit can ask ESG until March 31 of next year for an ex gratia payment of S $ 30,000 to cover termination costs.

For any severance pay paid to local employees, employers can also request financial assistance for one month’s salary paid to each employee.

If businesses choose to receive financial support, they will not be allowed to participate in the pilot program or any subsequent resumption of nightlife activities for at least 12 months.

Businesses are encouraged to contact the Singapore Nightlife Business Association (SNBA), which works closely with MTI and ESG to provide support to the nightlife industry.

Featured Image Credit: Reuters

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Jothi Venkat

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