3 ways new government measures for nightlife businesses will help ailing industry

The Government announced a pilot scheme and support measures for the nightlife industry to help the struggling sector, on Nov 6, 2020.
The Government announced a pilot scheme and support measures for the nightlife industry to help the struggling sector, on Nov 6, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Selected pubs, bars, karaoke joints and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen under a two- to three-month pilot scheme, while financial support will be given to businesses who wish to pivot to other activities or exit the industry.

This comes even as many businesses in the industry have been battered as they have not been able to open for about nine months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are highlights of the pilot scheme and support measures for the nightlife industry announced by the Government on Friday (Nov 6).

1. Pilot reopening of nightlife establishments

- Selected pubs and bars are expected to reopen by December, and the pilot scheme will last for two months.

- Selected karaoke outlets and nightclubs are expected to reopen by January 2021, and the pilot for this will last for three months.

- Strict safe management measures must be adopted, including:

a. Mandatory mask wearing

b. Ceasing all sales and consumption of alcohol past 10.30pm

c. Ensuring that karaoke and nightclub customers have tested negative for Covid-19, at least 24 hours before the end of their sessions there

d. Closed-circuit television cameras deployed in all activity areas

- Measures will be refined and confirmed closer to the pilot dates.

2. Support for nightlife businesses to pivot to other operations

- Simplified application process for businesses to change to food and beverage operations.

- Expedited assessment process for those using their premises for alternative commercial uses, like offices or gyms.

- Grants are available from Enterprise Singapore for businesses to defray their costs incurred, such as equipment and third-party consultancy costs. Firms can apply for this through the Singapore Nightlife Business Association (SNBA) from now till March 31, 2021.

3. Support for nightlife businesses to exit the industry

- An ex-gratia payment of $30,000 will be given to firms closing down. Firms can apply for this through the SNBA, from now till March 31, 2021

- Firms can also seek financial support for one month retrenchment benefits to be paid to local employees. This is capped at $3,000 per local employee.