Private rooms banned in pivoted nightlife establishments in S'pore, new rules implemented

Those who will be allowed to reopen will do so under strict watch and will face harsh punishments for violations.

Andrew Koay | July 31, 2021, 12:57 PM

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Nightlife establishments that have temporarily pivoted to food and beverage operations will have to pass inspections before they can resume operations.

This new requirement is being implemented alongside a spate of tighter safe management measures (SMMs), including the need for all employees to undergo a PCR test before operations can resume.

According to a joint news release by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the additional SMMs that pivoted nightlife establishments must adhere to include:

  • Only the main hall can be used for operations; all private rooms must be locked
  • CCTVs must cover all areas of operation, including entrances of the locked private rooms
  • Lighting in the establishment must be sufficient for activities to be observed on CCTVs
  • The interior of the outlet must be clearly visible to people outside; no blackout windows or opaque doors along the perimeter of the outlet
  • Equipment that facilitate public entertainment (e.g. pool tables, dart boards) must be removed from patrons' sight
  • All employees to undergo seven day (as opposed to the normal 14-day) Fast and Easy Testing (FET) at a HPB Quick Test Centre, upon resumption of operations
  • SafeEntry Gateway to be implemented at the entry/ exit point to facilitate contact tracing
  • Prevailing licensing conditions must be complied with, such as on food preparation facilities and menu
  • Employees deployed at the entrance of the outlet must not delay entry of enforcement officers, nor prevent members of the public from looking in

Pivoted nightlife establishments were ordered to suspend operations on July 16 after a cluster of Covid-19 cases were detected at former KTVs and nightclubs.

As of July 30, the KTV cluster has recorded 250 cases of Covid-19.

The cluster was eventually linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster, which currently has 999 cases in total.

Harsher punishments for errant operators

In their joint news release, the ministries said that around 50 pivoted nightlife establishments that were found to have committed SMM breaches since October 2020 will not be allowed to reopen.

Those that will be allowed to reopen will do so under strict watch and face harsh punishments for violations.

For example, establishments that breach SMMs are liable to have their conditional permits to operate withdrawn and must close immediately.

In May 2021, agencies have tightened the penalty framework for pivoted nightlife operators found in breach of SMMs.

So far, seven operators have had their licences permanently revoked thus far, and have been ordered to cease operations with immediate effect.

In the period between October 2020 to July 10, 2021, the police conducted 202 operations against licensed public entertainment outlets, including those which had pivoted to F&B operations, as well as against unlicensed public entertainment outlets which were operating in locations such as industrial estates, office units, and shophouses.

This resulted in the detection of 58 Public Entertainment Act and Liquor Control Act infringements, 595 SMM breaches, and 142 arrests for offences under various laws, including the Public Entertainments Act, Liquor Control Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, and Immigration Act.

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Top image from One Exclusive and via the Singapore Police Force