SINGAPORE: Three bars and pubs will be allowed to reopen for two months under a small-scale pilot programme for the nightlife industry, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (Dec 8).
The three bars and pubs are Bar Kiharu at Orchard Plaza, Bell Bar at Cuppage Plaza and Skinny’s Lounge at Boat Quay.
They were selected after a “careful review” of the six nominations MTI and MHA received, including assessing the operators’ readiness and capability to comply with the prescribed safe management measures, said the ministries in a joint press release.
Bell Bar said that it will reopen on Tuesday from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, while Skinny's Lounge will reopen on Wednesday from 4pm to 10pm. Bar Kiharu said that it will also reopen on Wednesday, from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force said on Oct 20 that bars, pubs, nightclubs, discotheques and karaoke lounges 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".
On Nov 6, MTI and MHA said a “limited number” of nightlife establishments would be allowed to reopen with COVID-19 safety measures in place under a pilot programme, and announced details of the programme.
“The pilots aim to establish the viability and robustness of the stringent safe management measures and the ability of the nightlife industry to comply with them, before the Government considers allowing any further steps in the resumption of nightlife businesses,” said the ministries on Tuesday.
Interested outlets had to submit proposals to the Singapore Nightlife Business Association or the Singapore River One association on how they intend to reopen safely, including their plans to implement the required COVID-19 safety measures.
The nightlife business associations were allowed to nominate suitable outlets to participate in the pilot programme.
SAFE MANAGEMENT MEASURES
In addition to complying with prevailing safe distancing rules and workplace safe management measures, the three venues have to ensure that customers, visitors and workers do not provide or condone hostessing services and that interactions between staff members and customers are no longer than what is “ordinarily necessary” to serve food and drinks or to accept payment.
The venues must also implement TraceTogether-only SafeEntry as well as deploy and activate closed-circuit television cameras at all times and keep recordings for at least 28 days.
They should also “strongly advise customers to visit no more than one nightlife establishment per night, in view of public health considerations associated with COVID-19”, said the ministries.
Group sizes remain restricted to five people with no intermingling between groups, and at least 1m must be maintained between different groups of customers.
The sale, serving and consumption of alcohol must cease at 10.30pm and customers must wear masks at all times unless eating or drinking.
Live music, radio broadcasts and all forms of television or video and other forms of public entertainment such as dancing, darts, billiards, pool, or karaoke are not allowed, said the ministries.
“Participating operators must comply with the stringent safe management measures set out for the nightlife industry at all times,” MTI and MHA said.
“During the pilot, enforcement agencies will monitor the compliance by these outlets and their customers’ with the safe management measures.
“In the event of breaches, enforcement actions will be taken under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, and the participating operator may be removed from the pilot.
“The operator may also be liable for a fine of up to S$10,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to six months or to both.”
The ministries added that the pilots for karaoke outlets and nightclubs are expected to start next month.