Nightlife establishments that pivoted to F&B must pass inspections, implement more measures before reopening
SINGAPORE: Nightlife establishments that were allowed to temporarily pivot to food and beverage operations must pass inspections and receive a conditional permit from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) before they can resume operations.
Operators of these establishments will also be required to put in place additional safe management measures on top of existing ones for the F&B sector, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and MTI on Saturday (Jul 31).
All nightlife establishments that pivoted to F&B amid the COVID-19 pandemic had to suspend operations for two weeks from Jul 16 after the emergence of a cluster linked to former KTV lounges and nightclubs.
As of noon on Friday, 250 cases are linked to the cluster at KTV lounges and clubs.
READ: All nightlife businesses that pivoted to F&B to be suspended for 2 weeks as KTV COVID-19 cluster grows
About 50 pivoted nightlife establishments have committed safe management measure breaches since October 2020 and will not be allowed to reopen, the ministries added.
“Establishments must remain closed, including for takeaway operations, until they pass the checks and receive written approval to reopen,” said the media release by the ministries.
READ: First reported COVID-19 case of KTV cluster entered Singapore via familial ties lane: ICA, MOM
The additional safe management measures will “further reduce public health risks and facilitate enforcement checks”, said the ministries.
All employees of such establishments will need to undergo a one-time polymerase chain reaction test and receive approval from the authorities before they can resume operations.
Only the main hall of these establishments can be used for F&B operations. All private rooms must be locked and cannot be used for “any purpose”, said the ministries.
CCTVs must cover all areas of operation, including entrances to locked private rooms.
“Lighting levels in outlets must be sufficient for activities to be observed on the CCTVs,” added the ministries.
The interior of the outlet must be “clearly visible” to people outside and no blackout windows or opaque doors should be used along the perimeter of the outlet.
Public entertainment equipment, such as pool tables, dart boards and karaoke machines, must be moved out of sight of customers.
Once operations resume, all employees of such establishments must also undergo fast and easy testing (FET) at a Health Promotion Board Quick Test Centre every seven days. This is more stringent than the 14-day employer supervised FET for typical F&B outlets.
SafeEntry Gateway will also have to be implemented at the entrance and exit of the premises, while prevailing licensing conditions must be complied with.
“Employees deployed at the entrance of the outlet must not delay entry of enforcement officers, nor prevent members of the public from looking in,” said the ministries.
In May, agencies tightened the penalty framework for pivoted nightlife operators that breached safe management measures.
Seven operators had their licences permanently revoked and had to cease operations immediately. They are: Peony Garden Food House, also known as Club Diamond, 3 Kings Pub, DMAX, The Charm, Icon II, Frederico's Paddles Too Pub and Cafeteria, and Club D'Obsession, also known as Herness 8.
READ: Police conducted average of one enforcement operation a day on KTV, illegal nightlife outlets since October: Shanmugam
Between October 2020 and Jul 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 safe management measures 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.
"All pivoted nightlife establishments must comply strictly with the requirements in order to reopen," said the ministries.
"Any outlet found to resume operations (including takeaway) without obtaining a conditional permit from MTI will face firm enforcement action, including prosecution and the cancellation of licences for food, public entertainment and liquor."