Pivoted nightlife venues in S'pore could reopen for F&B after two weeks if Covid-19 rules are strictly followed

The re-opening of these businesses is contingent on whether they have been compliant with safe management measures, among other things.
The re-opening of these businesses is contingent on whether they have been compliant with safe management measures, among other things.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Pivoted nightlife establishments may be able to resume their food and beverage (F&B) operations after two weeks if checks by government agencies show Covid-19 protocols are in place and strictly adhered to.

Revealing this on Tuesday (July 20), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said the reopening of these businesses is contingent on whether they have been compliant with safe management measures, among other things.

"When we look at it, and we see it is properly done, the protocols are in place and they are strictly complied with, then we may allow them to resume after two weeks," he said.

Mr Wong, who was speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling the coronavirus outbreak, said the two-week suspension was imposed to allow agencies to go through in greater detail the safe management protocols that are in place in these establishments.

Agencies involved include the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The agencies will also look at how these businesses are organised, and take a "risk-based approach" towards determining which pivoted nightlife establishments can reopen after the suspension period is over.

The police said on Tuesday that pivoted nightlife establishments can resume operations only if they pass inspections and receive written approval by the Singapore Food Agency.

More than 400 such establishments were told to suspend operations from July 16 for two weeks as an additional layer of precaution, following the emergence of a KTV Covid-19 cluster, which the Ministry of Health announced on July 12.

The cluster has a total of 207 cases as at Tuesday.

A multi-agency crackdown is under way to weed out errant nightlife operators among KTV lounges, nightclubs and pubs.

These places were allowed to pivot to F&B operations to remain in business, after being closed since the circuit breaker last year.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force, said the reopening of these businesses is contingent on whether they have been compliant.

Agencies may "take a bit more time" if they are not satisfied that the establishments are able to comply strictly with measures, or if they have more questions for operators, he added.

Consequences could be harsh for non-compliance.

"In these inspections, if there are operators with existing breaches, we may even then revoke the licence and not allow them to continue operating," said Mr Wong.

The police have also conducted several rounds of enforcement operations related to clampdowns on the illicit nightlife sector.

Police checked 27 pivoted KTV lounges in an anti-crime operation from Tuesday to Thursday last week.

In total, 29 women were arrested for offences under the Women's Charter, the Immigration Act and the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

Police said 10 of the women will be deported after they were found to be hostesses and deemed undesirable immigrants.

Read next: What you need to know about Singapore's Covid-19 rules from July 22