The government has announced a reopening pilot for nightlife businesses recently.
This piece of news brings hope to some in the nightlife and entertainment industry even though only limited businesses will be involved in the pilot programme ultimately.
That said, with stringent safety measures involved, it might not be viable for all qualifying businesses to take this chance.
Homegrown karaoke business Teo Heng KTV is one that will not be applying for the reopening pilot programme.
Teo Heng not applying for reopening pilot
A Teo Heng spokesperson Jean Teo told Mothership that the cost involved in reopening under this pilot programme would likely put a toll on their businesses, depleting their resources faster.
The key factor is the requirement for every customer to do a swab test and be tested negative for Covid-19 before they entering their premises.
For Teo Heng, which charges customers by per room instead of per headcount, this will bring the cost up significantly for customers.
Given Teo Heng's business model, this is costly for customers and operators if the latter were to bear part of the cost.
Wants to uphold value-for-money and family-friendly concept
In the past decades, Teo Heng has established itself as a family-friendly and value-for-money karaoke chain.
As such, the company will not be considering the sale of alcohol even though that will help to cover the cost, Teo added.
"Teo Heng hopes to uphold its policy and concept to provide entertainment for all."
Teo recalled how families used to bring homecooked food to their karaoke outlet to sing together as well as some working adults who sing at Teo Heng since their student days.
The decision to not reopen is definitely not an easy one but the company does not want to compromise on their values.
The rents are starting to "snowball" with interests accruing month after month, Teo said: "We are still trying very hard to hang on with our resources that is thinning everyday."
Turning karaoke room into places to gather, work or study
This situation has left Teo Heng with the option to pivot to other businesses for the time being to tide through this difficult period.
Teo noted that Teo Heng has received many words of encouragement from loyal customers and that has kept them going.
To remain as a family-friendly place for ordinary Singaporeans to gather, Teo Heng is considering turning its existing outlets to working and studying spaces with free Wi-Fi.
People can also use this space to have meals with their friends or have celebrations in groups no more than five, when other places are too crowded.
Teo added that they will ensure safe management measures are put in place as "customers' safety comes first".
Microphones in the room will be removed as singing will not be allowed.
Teo Heng is in the midst of the application for this proposed idea.
"This will help us to hang on our business till karaoke is permitted. We hope our supporters love this idea and we welcome suggestions that will make them feel worthwhile to come back again. We truly missed our supporters for the past eight months..."
Teo Heng is also looking at how karaoke chains in other countries are coping and the measures that they could potentially adopt should they resume karaoke business again.
Looking forward to Teo Heng's return. :')
Top photos via Teo Heng website