Pilots for reopening of nightclubs, KTV outlets deferred amid more community cases

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - MARCH 30: A man looks at the water fountain in Clarke Quay on March 30 2020 in Singapore. The usually popular drinking area has seen less crowd since the Singapore government shut down all entertainment venues such as bars, karaoke lounges, nightclubs and introduced several safe distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
A man looks at the water fountain in Clarke Quay on 30 March 2020 in Singapore. (Getty Images file photo)

SINGAPORE — Pilots for the reopening of nightclubs and karaoke outlets planned for January have been deferred until further notice, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (19 January).

In a joint press statement, the ministries pointed the decision to the recent increase in the number of community cases in Singapore, of which some are currently unlinked and under investigation.

The deferment is to prevent the risk of further community transmission and formation of clusters in high-risk settings, such as nightclubs and karaoke outlets, which entail people coming into close contact for prolonged periods of time and in enclosed spaces, they added.

“It is uncertain when the pilot may be able to commence, given the dynamic public health situation. Agencies will review the commencement of the pilots at a suitable juncture,” the MTI and MHA said.

The ministries had on 6 November announced that authorities will run small-scale pilots for the nightlife industry to allow a limited number of nightlife outlets to reopen with stringent safe management measures in place.

The aim of the pilots is to establish the viability and robustness of the measures in ensuring the safe conduct of the activities, and the ability of the nightlife industry to comply with them, before the government considers further steps in the resumption of nightlife businesses, the ministries said.

The pilot for bars and pubs commenced from 8 December last year, with three outlets undergoing it currently. This will continue for now, the ministries added.

Nightlife business associations were also invited to nominate suitable nightclubs and karaoke outlets to participate in the pilots, where interested outlets had to submit proposals to the business associations, which include plans on how they intend to comply with the measures and reopen safely.

The ministries said they received a total of eight nominations for nightclubs and 15 nominations for karaoke outlets.

Two nightclubs and 10 karaoke outlets were shortlisted, with the aim of commencing the pilot in January, subject to the prevailing COVID-19 situation and lead time required to prepare for the pilot.

“We are working with the operators who were shortlisted for the pilot on the next steps for their businesses, and assisting them individually,” the ministries said.

“Agencies will also continue to monitor the situation closely, and will work with the operators to tighten the safe management measures where necessary to safeguard public health.”

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country’s total case count to 59,157.

There are four cases in the community, while the remaining 26 are imported. This marks the sixth day in a row where new community infections are reported.

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