Pilot for S'pore nightclubs & karaoke outlets deferred due to rise in community cases

Deferred until further notice.

Ashley Tan | January 19, 2021, 06:14 PM

The Singapore government previously announced in Nov. 2020 the reopening of the nightlife industry under pilot programmes, after it ground to a halt due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Pilot for bars and pubs ongoing since Dec. 8

The pilot programmes would involve certain bars, pubs, nightclubs, discotheques, and karaoke lounges.

The pilot for bars and pubs started from Dec. 8, with three outlets under the pilot. This was supposed to have lasted for two months.

Nightlife business associations were invited to nominate suitable nightclubs and karaoke outlets to participate in the pilots.

Interested outlets had to submit proposals to these associations. A total of eight nominations for nightclubs and 15 nominations for karaoke outlets were submitted.

Meanwhile, two nightclubs and 10 karaoke outlets were shortlisted for the pilot, and would have reopened in January 2021.

These pilots were meant to establish the viability and robustness of safe management measures and the ability of the nightlife industry to comply with these measures.

This was necessary before the government considers further steps in the resumption of the nightlife industry.

Until further notice

On Jan. 19, 2021 however, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) revealed that the pilot programmes for nightclubs and karaoke outlets would be deferred until further notice.

This follows a rise in community cases recently, some of which are unlinked and under investigation.

One recent cluster originated from a para-veterinarian who transmitted Covid-19 to another man at his workplace. The man then transmitted the virus to his family members, reported CNA.

Four community cases were reported today as well.

As nightclubs and karaoke outlets are places where people can gather and come into close contact for prolonged periods of time, MTI stated that the deferment was necessary to prevent the risk of further community transmission and the formation of more clusters.

MTI added that 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."

MTI is currently working with the 12 operators shortlisted on the next steps.

In the meantime, the pilot for bars and pubs which commenced earlier will continue.

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

Top photo from Zouk Singapore / FB