SINGAPORE – KTV lounge Club Dolce will continue to operate even as its workers are being tested for Covid-19, the owner told The Straits Times on Tuesday (July 13).
Mr Darren Peh, the owner of the lounge located in Balestier Point, said he was informed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday that he must send his staff to be swabbed for Covid-19 under special testing operations by the ministry.
Club Dolce is one of three KTV lounges with workers targeted for special testing operations.
In a press release on Monday night, MOH said it was investigating Covid-19 infections among a group of Vietnamese social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs now operating as food and beverage outlets.
In an update on Tuesday, MOH said that of the 19 new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infections it has confirmed, eight belong to the emerging KTV cluster.
In a phone interview with ST, Mr Peh, who took over ownership of Club Dolce about two years ago, said: “I have already sent my workers to be swabbed on Tuesday morning, and we are currently awaiting the test result.”
He added that he has not received any orders from the authorities to close his KTV outlet, saying normal operations will continue.
ST had visited Balestier Point at noon on Tuesday. Shopkeepers and residents said they noticed the KTV lounge reopening to customers two weeks ago.
A notice at the entrance to the lounge indicated that renovation works had been carried out between June 4 and July 1.
The other two KTV outlets identified by MOH are Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre and Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre.
The doors to both were closed when ST visited on Tuesday afternoon.
The KTV lounges bore similar notices at the door, and appear to be staffed by the same people, shopkeepers say.
Shopkeepers at Far East Shopping Centre said most shops at the mall are closed by 8pm daily, but Supreme KTV was among several businesses known to operate till late.
They said women who appeared to be lounge hostesses would often turn up at around 6pm. They would enter the KTV lounge at the basement, where another entrance is located, without going through the mall.
Elderly shopkeepers who spoke to ST on condition of anonymity said they are worried after hearing news of the cluster linked to hostesses, and will take the Covid-19 test if requested by MOH.
They added that they are vaccinated but will monitor their health more closely.
Shopkeepers at Tanglin Shopping Centre said Empress KTV had resumed operations only on July 1, after renovation works were carried out.
The KTV lounge sits next to enrichment centre Math Vision, whose head of department, Mr Vinayak More, spoke to ST.
The 42-year-old said he has seen hostesses turning up at the KTV in the late afternoons, often in groups of five.
“The KTV was closed for a long time, and only very recently restarted their operations,” he added.
“We would see young women come in groups, dressed in short skirts. There are safe distancing ambassadors that come here about four times daily, but because the KTV opens later in the evening, there are no ambassadors around by then.”
A manager of a restaurant in the mall said the KTV does not have a kitchen, and had been ordering food to be delivered there ever since they reopened at the start of the month.
He said his staff would sometimes enter the KTV and leave the food at the reception, but would not enter the premises.
“I know that the women working there also work at the other KTV at Far East Shopping Centre, because I’ve seen the same group of them there when I go past on the way home,” he said.
“They’ll all be mingling in groups, and I think they are a mix of Vietnamese and Thai nationals.”
He added that all his staff intend to get swabbed as soon as possible, as they had shared common spaces such as the toilets with those from the KTV.
Deep cleaning operations at Tanglin Shopping Centre started at 4.30pm on Tuesday, with cleaning staff donning full protective gear.
The areas being cleaned, which include the corridor outside Empress KTV and the toilets on the 4th floor, have been cordoned off. Staff of other units on the floor have been asked to vacate their premises temporarily until the completion of cleaning operations.
Club Dolce’s Mr Peh said his lounge will also be closed on Tuesday for deep cleaning.
Meanwhile, MOH is encouraging members of the public who had visited the three premises, similar KTV lounges or clubs operating as food and beverage establishments, or had interactions with Vietnamese social hostesses in any setting between June 29 to July 12 to get tested for Covid-19.
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