COVID-19: Bars and entertainment venues in Singapore to be closed till end-April or later

Amir Hussain
·Senior Reporter
·4-min read

SINGAPORE — All bars and entertainment venues – such as night clubs, discos cinemas, theatres, and karaoke outlets – in Singapore will be closed till end-April, or later, as part of stricter measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak here.

All events, regardless of size, must also be deferred or cancelled, while gatherings outside of work and school are to be limited to 10 people or fewer at any time.

These and additional social distancing measures will take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday (26 March) and are expected to be in place until 30 April but may be extended if the situation does not improve, said the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce at a press conference on Tuesday.

These venues were identified as areas with high risk of transmission due to the sustained close contact over a period of time, added the taskforce.

Others, such as retail malls, museums and attractions, where contact is more transient, may remain open but only with precautionary measures in place. These include:

  • reducing operating capacity within the venue at any one time – making sure that there is not more than one person per 16 square metres

  • groups must not exceed 10 people; organised activities such as group tours and open atrium sale events will be suspended

  • disperse congregations and provide digital alternatives to queuing or waiting, for instance

If these venues are unable to adhere to the requirements, they must be closed. Additional penalties may be imposed on those which have been a place of transmission for the virus, said the taskforce.

Other activities with live music or karaoke at food and beverage outlets must also be stopped, and these outlets must set up their spaces to ensure separation of at least one metre between tables or different groups of diners. Such groups are to have less than 10 people, while eating establishments with fixed seating must mark out alternate seats.

Existing social distancing measures for workplaces will continue to apply.

Tuition, faith-based activities suspended; suspension of seniors' activities extended

Separately, all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes are to be suspended to reduce the intermingling of students from different schools.

Similarly, all religious services and congregations will also be suspended. Places of worship may remain open for private worship and essential rites but only for group sizes with 10 or fewer people at one time.

All senior-centric activities organised by government agencies will be extended for three more weeks to end-April.

The suspension applies to all activities organised by community clubs, residents committees, senior activity centres, active ageing hubs, Crest centres, the Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sport centres.

These had been suspended since 11 March.

The taskforce also advised seniors and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions to avoid social gatherings and crowded places as far as possible and to only go out for essential purposes.

All events to be deferred, cancelled

All events and other mass gatherings such as conferences and trade fairs, regardless of size, must be also deferred or cancelled. These are enhanced from measures announced last Friday, where all events and gatherings with 250 or more participants in Singapore must be suspended till end-June.

The taskforce advised Singaporeans to avoid holding and participating in social events and gatherings – including birthdays and weddings – involving more than 10 people at any one time.

They added that attendance to funerals and wakes should also be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 10 or fewer at any one time.

“Much as we understand the need for friends and acquaintances to pay their last respects and give comfort to families in their grief, we urge the public to do their part in minimising social interactions so that we can slow down the spread of the virus together,” said the taskforce.

As of Tuesday, Singapore confirmed 49 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 558. 17 remain in the intensive care unit while two have died.

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