Singapore to consider limited pilots with more stringent safe management for nightlife sector

The Government may consider piloting stringent Covid-19 measures at nightlife venues to help businesses in the industry resume safely.
The Government may consider piloting stringent Covid-19 measures at nightlife venues to help businesses in the industry resume safely.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Limited pilot programmes to help the nightlife industry reopen safely are being considered by the authorities.

Revealing this at a virtual press conference on Tuesday (Oct 20), the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 warned that businesses such as bars, pubs, karaoke lounges and nightclubs may still not be able to return to what they were before the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are prepared to consider pilots with much more stringent safe management measures in place," said Education Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the task force.

"We will discuss with the nightlife industry how some of these pilots can take place."

For instance, the few, limited pilots being considered will be subject to a more stringent set of measures, including pre-entry testing done using antigen rapid tests.

But Mr Wong warned that the nightlife industry is unlikely to go back to what it used to be anytime soon.

The industry has to be prepared for "quite a long period of restrictions to be in place", he said, adding that the Government will put in place measures to help business operators and owners to exit and pivot to new areas.

Details of the assistance package will be announced separately, he added.

Mr Wong noted that in nightlife locations like bars or clubs, people are in close proximity to one another within an enclosed space.

"We have seen it in other countries, where large clusters break out in many settings. Even at the start of phase three, we do not expect to resume these activities anytime soon."