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'Onerous' measures for nightlife operators looking to reopen in trials

BARS, pubs and nightclubs will be able to apply to be part of the nightlife reopening pilot programme this Wednesday, although the Singapore Nightlife Business Association (SNBA) has warned that participation will be "onerous".

SNBA said it will release an online application form for nightlife operators interested in the trials on Wednesday, and brief industry players on the options available to them, including exiting the industry and switching to other types of business.

Applications will close on Nov 15, although the association said it is in talks with the authorities on extending the deadline to Nov 23. The Singapore Entertainment Affiliation will handle applications for karaoke establishments.

Since the pilot programme was announced on Friday, SNBA has received about 60 queries from interested businesses. The number of interested parties could end up in the "hundreds" after the industry briefing, SNBA president Joseph Ong said in a media conference on Monday.

But the trials "should not be regarded as an alternative for the operators to reopen", he stressed. "The chances are low that they will be selected, and the trial requires extreme planning and care."

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On Monday, SNBA announced more specific safe-management measures for the various types of nightlife activities.

Bars and pubs:

* No loud music beyond 60 decibels, similar to food establishments;

* No live music, performances, radio broadcasts and all forms of television or video screenings.

Karaoke lounges:

* Only local residents and those with work passes will be allowed entry;

* Groups of up to five allowed within enclosed rooms, with premises and equipment to be cleaned and disinfected after each use;

* Eating and drinks will be allowed within the karaoke rooms.

Nightclubs:

* Only local residents and those with work passes will be allowed entry;

* Capacity of entire nightclub is limited to 100 people, split into two zones;

* No mingling between groups, with customers kept 2 metres apart;

* No live entertainment or performance.

Both karaoke lounges and nightclubs will also need to ensure that customers have taken an antigen rapid test at a private clinic, or provide on-site testing. SNBA said it is exploring partnerships with clinics and companies that do testing, to potentially reduce costs for operators.

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