COVID-19: 3 bars to reopen under nightlife sector pilot scheme

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
The three outlets allowed to reopen under the pilot scheme are Bar Kiharu at Orchard Plaza, Bell Bar at Cuppage Plaza and Skinny’s Lounge at Boat Qua. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
The three outlets allowed to reopen under the pilot scheme are Bar Kiharu at Orchard Plaza, Bell Bar at Cuppage Plaza and Skinny’s Lounge at Boat Qua. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Three selected bars will be allowed to reopen for two months from Tuesday (8 December) under small-scale pilot schemes for the nightlife industry.

The outlets are Bar Kiharu at Orchard Plaza, Bell Bar at Cuppage Plaza and Skinny’s Lounge at Boat Quay, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a joint news release.

“The pilots aim to establish the viability and robustness of the stringent SMMs (safe management measures), and the ability of the nightlife industry to comply with them, before the Government considers allowing any further steps in the resumption of nightlife businesses,” said the ministries.

The participating venues will have to adhere to strict SMMs, which include not having live music performances, radio broadcasts and all forms of television or video screenings. No forms of public entertainment such as dancing, darts, billiards or karaoke will be allowed.

Hostessing services will also not be allowed at the venues and interactions between customers and staff will have to be strictly limited to the performing of services such as serving food or accepting payment. CCTV cameras must also be used at the venues at all times to record activities within the establishments, and the recordings must be stored for at least 28 days.

Other regulations include barring the sale or consumption of liquor past 10.30pm; disallowing the playing of recorded music at a volume louder than 60 decibels; having groups of customers be limited to a maximum of five members and ensuring that various groups do not intermingle; and ensuring that customers wear their masks when not eating or drinking.

Venue operators found to have breached the SMMs may be removed from the pilot and may also face fines of up to $10,000, jail terms of up to six months, or both, for violations under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

6 nominations submitted

On 20 October, the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 announced that a few limited test pilots would be allowed for higher-risk venues such as bars and pubs. MTI said that the nightlife business associations were allowed to nominate suitable outlets to participate in the scheme.

Interested outlets had to submit their proposals to the associations – the Singapore Nightlife Business Association or Singapore River One – which include details of how they intended to reopen safely and implement the SMMs. In total, MTI and the MHA received six nominations for bars and pubs.

“The pilots for karaoke outlets and nightclubs are expected to commence by January 2021. More details will be shared when ready,” said the ministries.

In an earlier announcement, MTI and MHA said that patrons of nightclubs and karaoke outlets taking part in the upcoming pilots would have to wear masks while on dancing or singing. Those visiting such venues would also have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result 24 hours prior to the end of their activities at the venue.

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