Nightlife outlets planning to exit can apply for $30,000 ex-gratia payment

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2-min read
People Enjoying Music Concert
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Nightlife outlets that are planning to cease operations can apply to Enterprise Singapore (ESG) for an ex-gratia payment of $30,000 from now till 31 March 2021, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday (6 November).

In addition, nightlife outlets that wish to switch to other permissible activities can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 from ESG to defray qualifying costs such as equipment and consultancy costs.

Nightlife outlets will only be eligible for either one of the financial support packages.

The packages were announced alongside the unveiling of new safe management measures for a limited number of nightlife outlets involved in reopening pilots. The pilots for pubs and bars will start by December and last for two months while that for karaoke lounges and nightclubs will start by January 2021 and last for three months.

“For employees who are retrenched as a result of the cessation, employers should honour retrenchment benefit contractually provided for, or follow the retrenchment benefit norms as stipulated within the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment,” the authorities said.

For any retrenchment benefit paid to local employees, employers can seek financial support to defray one month of salary paid to each employee, the authorities added. The relevant agencies will continue to work with industry partners to help affected employees to seek employment.

MTI has worked with agencies including the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Singapore Food Agency to simplify the application process for nightlife establishments looking to switch to F&B operations. Applications to switch to alternative commercial uses apart from F&B, such as offices or gyms, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Interested operators should first reach out to the Singapore Nightlife Business Association at helpdesk@snba.org.sg for more information on the financial support packages. Upon receiving either one of the financial support packages, an operator will not be allowed to participate in the pilot programme nor any subsequent resumption of nightlife operations for at least 12 months.

Operators that meet the eligibility criteria may tap on the Ministry of Law’s Simplified Insolvency Programme, which will help them restructure their debts or wind up their company. Sole proprietors and partnerships may tap on the Sole Proprietors and Partnerships scheme to restructure their business debts.

Businesses with substantial obligations from contracts entered into before the COVID-19 pandemic may explore the Re-Align Framework, which allows businesses facing such circumstances to renegotiate certain prescribed contracts with their counterparties, or terminate the contract if renegotiation is not possible.

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