Not all nightlife establishments operating amid Covid-19 complied with requirements: SPF, SFA

Government agencies had rolled out a streamlined process last year to allow nightlife establishments to switch to the food and beverage sector quickly. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Many of the more than 400 nightlife establishment operators in Singapore have fully complied with Covid-19 requirements.

But some have not been responsible, with nearly 600 breaches detected since October last year, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in a joint statement on Tuesday (July 20).

Nightlife establishments such as pubs, bars, nightclubs, discotheques and karaoke lounges have not been allowed to operate in their original form since March 2020 because of Covid-19.

But they were permitted to switch to the food & beverage (F&B) sector in October, in order that they could make some revenue in the meantime.

Between Oct 1 last year and July 10 this year, the police conducted 202 operations against licensed public entertainment outlets - including those that had switched to F&B - as well as against unlicensed public entertainment outlets operating in industrial estates, office units and shophouses.

Some 540 checks on such outlets conducted during these operations resulted in the detection of 595 breaches of safe management measures, among other infringements.

Arrests were made of 142 people for various offences, including under the Public Entertainments Act, Liquor Control Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and Immigration Act, among others.

SPF and SFA said on Tuesday that breaches of safe management measures committed by the errant group of establishments are flagrant and carry much higher public health risks.

"Government agencies will continue to carry out enforcement action against errant outlets, including permanent revocation of licences and prosecution in court... (However) there is a limit to what enforcement can achieve," said SPF and SFA.

"Business operators and patrons must play their part, and abide by the safe management measures put in place. Individual responsibility is more important and, in fact, the most effective and sustainable means for us to overcome Covid-19. All of us have to play our part."

Separately, joint enforcement operations involving various government agencies and the police have been conducted over 20 weekends and all festive periods since October last year.

To date, agencies have imposed around 100 closure orders on F&B outlets, including around 40 that were previously non-F&B establishments, with around 10 repeat offenders.

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