COVID-19: Singapore authorities warn against farewell parties at nightspots following closure announcement

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SINGAPORE — The authorities are warning nightlife operators against holding farewell parties following news that a number might be holding them ahead of their closure on Thursday (26 March) night.

The plans by some of the nightlife operators come after the government announced on Tuesday that all entertainment venues, including clubs, pubs, cinemas, and karaoke outlets, will be closed from Thursday night 11.59pm, until 30 April or later.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the Singapore Tourism Board, Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Police Force said that they were aware that a number of entertainment venues might be holding farewell events that could result in large numbers of people congregating.

“The Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s decision to enforce stricter safe distancing measures aims to significantly reduce the risks of seeding new local COVID-19 clusters, which could strain our healthcare system further,” the statement said.

It added that even before the stricter measures kicked in, nightlife operators were required to implement safe distancing measures announced by the Ministry of Health on 20 March.

These include suspending events with 250 or more participants. Events with fewer than 250 participants are required to implement necessary precautionary measures, including ensuring a distance of at least a metre between all participants to reduce mingling among participants.

Officers from government agencies, including the police, will be enforcing these measures on the ground over the next two days, the statement added.

The Traffic Police will also be conducting island-wide enforcement operations against drink-driving.

“During this time, we appeal to Singaporeans to exercise good judgement and social responsibility. This will play an important part in keeping fellow Singaporeans and our loved ones safe in the midst of this global pandemic,” said the authorities.

The stricter measures were announced during a multi-ministry taskforce press conference on Tuesday. In addition to the closure of entertainment venues, 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.

Retail malls, museums and attractions, where contact is more transient, may remain open but only with precautionary measures in place, including reducing operating capacity within each venue, dispersing congregations, and providing digital alternatives to queuing or waiting.

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