Selected pubs, bars, nightclubs allowed to reopen from December with strict measures in place

Under a pilot scheme, pubs and bars may first open before karaoke lounges and nightclubs follow suit.

Phoon Jia Hui

Jack of all trades, master of drinking boba milk tea.

Published: 7 November 2020, 1:58 AM

Hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nightlife industry will finally see light at the end of the tunnel.  

Authorities on Friday (Nov 6) announced that they will allow a “limited number” of nightlife establishments to reopen as pilots with safe management measures (SMMs).

The pilot for pubs and bars will commence by Dec 2020 and last for two months. 

Meanwhile, pilots for karaoke lounges and nightclubs will only begin in Jan 2021 and last for three months. 

“The pilots aim to establish the viability and robustness of stringent SMMs that will be required to be put in place, and the nightlife industry’s ability to comply with them, before the Government considers allowing any further resumption of nightlife businesses,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a joint statement.

Stringent SMMs will be put in place at these nightspots. It includes the wearing of masks at all times except when eating or drinking, while alcohol cannot be sold, served or consumed after 10.30pm. 

Masks must be worn even while singing or on the dance floor. 

Customers entering karaoke lounges and nightclubs must have taken either a polymerase chain reaction test or an antigen rapid test, and test negative for the coronavirus 24 hours prior to the end of the activity at the nightlife establishment.

Additionally, CCTVs must be deployed and activated at all times, to cover all parts of the common areas and rooms used for activities, the ministries added.

Should these establishments fail to comply, they will face penalties and may be removed from the pilot. 

Regardless of how well the pilots go, the ministries also acknowledged that the nightlife industry is not expected to resume operations in their original form for a considerable future.

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