askST: What patrons, operators need to know about nightlife businesses reopening on Tuesday

There is a capacity limit of 75 per cent for nightlife establishments. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, all nightlife businesses will fully reopen from Tuesday (April 19), with Covid-19 safety measures in place.

Operators of bars, pubs, karaoke establishments, discotheques and nightclubs must adhere to all prevailing safe management measures.

Self-service buffets are not allowed and the businesses have to follow vaccination-differentiated safe management measures. Businesses that offer live performances of music, variety acts, singing or dancing must have the relevant public entertainment (PE) licences.

The authorities will continue to monitor the operations and take firm enforcement action against establishments and individuals who breach the rules.

The Straits Times answers some questions that individuals and nightlife operators may have as Singapore gears up to party again.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I am singing or dancing indoors?

A: Yes, you are required to wear a mask on the dance floor and if you are singing indoors. Masks may be removed when you are eating or drinking, and should be put back on immediately after doing so.

Q: Do I need to do an antigen rapid test (ART) to enter a nightclub or discotheque, where there is dancing?

A: Yes, for nightlife establishments where there is dancing, a negative ART supervised by a Ministry of Health-approved test provider - either in person or remotely - is required for patrons before entry. The Covid-19 test is valid for 24 hours from the time of the test result. Although this requirement applies mainly to nightclubs and discotheques, it also applies to any other establishments, including food and beverage (F&B), bar/pub and karaoke businesses, where patrons can dance.

Q: How many people can I go with to a nightlife establishment?

A: Groups of up to 10 fully vaccinated persons are allowed. Operators are required to conduct checks at the entrances.

Q: Is safe distancing required?

A: Yes, individuals or groups have to observe a safe distance of 1m in settings where masks are not worn.

Q: Is there a capacity limit for nightlife establishments?

A: Yes, there is a capacity limit of 75 per cent.

Q: What happens to nightlife establishments that have temporarily pivoted to F&B operations?

A: From Tuesday, nightlife establishments that have temporarily pivoted to F&B operations are permitted to resume nightlife operations. The conditional permit issued for the F&B operations will be rescinded on the same day.

Nightlife establishments need a Singapore Food Agency (SFA) food shop licence to sell food.

Operators do not need to submit a fresh application for a food shop (pub/bar/nightclub/disco) licence in order to resume nightlife operations. SFA will be updating the licence automatically. Operators can continue to operate their businesses on and after Tuesday while SFA updates the licence.

A notification will be sent to the operators once the update is completed. Operators should print out the licence when they receive the notification. They should also ensure that they have the valid land-use approval and liquor and PE licences before resuming nightlife business.

SPH Brightcove Video
As part of reopening after April 19, all nightlife establishments such as bars, pubs, karaoke establishments, discotheques and nightclubs will be subjected to safe management measures (SMMs), including vaccination-differentiated SMMs (VDS).

Q: What happens to establishments that had obtained URA's approval to change their premises to other uses, such as a gym, restaurant, or co-working space?

A: Planning permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is required for operators to convert their premises back to nightlife use. Operators may submit a change of use application here. If planning permission is granted, operators must ensure they have the valid licences, such as a food shop licence, and liquor and PE licences, before resuming nightlife business.

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