Only 18 out of 400 ex-nightlife outlets got F&B support package, and none are part of Covid-19 KTV cluster

SINGAPORE – Only 18 former nightlife outlets were given Enterprise Singapore (ESG) support packages to switch to food and beverage operations and none of them are part of the growing KTV Covid-19 cluster.

A total of 400 nightlife outlets applied for the support grant, and of the 18 establishments that were successful, 10 were bars and pubs, six were nightclubs and discos and two were karaoke establishments.

ESG and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), in a joint statement on Wednesday (July 21), sought to clarify comments and misconceptions about recent breaches of safe management measures by illegal KTV clubs masquerading as food and beverage outlets, which resulted in the spread of Covid-19 cases.

Many businesses and the Singapore Nightlife Business Association appealed to the Government to allow them to switch to other permissible activities, such as food and beverage, office spaces and fitness centres, after nightlife establishments were banned from operating from March 27 last year due to the pandemic, said MTI and ESG.

Considering the challenges faced by the industry, the Government allowed selected establishments to switch to these other activities from October last year, they said.

In order to do so, nightlife establishments had to obtain the necessary approvals from the authorities and submit a business plan, including details on the operational requirements.

Successful applicants were eligible for a pivot grant of up to $50,000 from ESG, to help with costs incurred in the business’ transition, such as equipment and consultancy costs.

These grants are given on a reimbursement basis and disbursed after evaluation, said the statement.

“Each application was carefully assessed on its own merit, taking into consideration factors such as the applicant’s operational plan,” it added.

These establishments are inspected by agencies such as the ESG, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Singapore Tourism Board, in collaboration with the police, to ensure compliance to all pandemic measures.

“Agencies will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action against errant operators,” said MTI and ESG.

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