Nightlife in Singapore to resume in limited capacity this December and January under pilot programme

Nightlife in Singapore to resume in limited capacity this December and January under pilot programme

Some of Singapore's nightlife establishments - including bars, pubs, nightclubs, and karaoke lounges - will open their doors for the very first time since March in just a few weeks' time.

A new pilot programme will see participating bars and pubs reopening for two months from December, while participating karaoke lounges and nightclubs will begin their three-month-long pilot from January 2021. Stringent COVID-19 safety measures such as pre-event testing onsite will also be enforced, announced the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today in a joint press release.

For safety reasons, customers including those on the dance floor or singing would be required to have their masks on at all times except while eating and drinking. The consumption, sale, or serving of alcohol would not be permitted after 10:30pm. The ministries also added that CCTVs at establishments must be deployed and managed at all times in all common areas in nightlife establishments.

Pre-event testing would be further required for patrons of karaoke lounges and nightclubs - they would need to be tested negative for COVID-19 24 hours prior to the end of activity at a nightlife establishment before permitted entrance into the venues.

Amid the good news, the MTI and the MHA urged patrons to not let their guard down. "Even if the pilots turn out well, it is expected that the nightlife industry will not resume operations in their original form for a considerable period," they said.

Cooperation of establishments is also key for the pilot programme to run smoothly. Enforcement agencies would be closely monitoring the participating establishments and those who are found to have breached any safety measures may be terminated from the pilot and face penalties as a result. Should a COVID-19 cluster occur at any establishment, the pilot may be suspended or ceased.

The selective reopening of nightlife establishments marks the return of live events in Singapore much sooner than anticipated. Two weeks ago on 20 October, the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force reinforced that nightlife establishments will not be permitted to "reopen in their original form for some time, as the nature of their activities poses a high risk of COVID-19 transmission".

This follows the news of the resumption of live performances at designated venues as announced by the MTI on 20 October, with up to two zones of a maximum of 50 audiences each. The designated venues included the likes of Marina Bay Sands, indoor venues at SentosaCapitol TheatreF1 Pit BuildingSportsHub, indoor performance spaces on Royal Caribbean International and Dream Cruises, and more.

Baybeats, Singapore's largest free alternative music festival which was typically held at The Esplanade regularly, had successfully kickstarted their Baybeats Backstage Experience today, which allowed for audiences to spectate the livestream sets at the Esplanade Theatre in person.

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🔥BAYBEATS 2020 KICKS OFF TONIGHT AT 7PM! We will be sharing photos of what’s going on backstage (and on stage) so watch this space and pls the livestream too 🤘 HAVE A BLAST THIS WEEKEND Y’ALL • Earlier this week, bumping in and prepping the venues for this weekend. #baybeats #baybeats2020 #mydurian #esplanade @esplanadesingapore

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Watch this space for further updates on the resumption of live events in Singapore.

Cover image credit: Zouk Singapore