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Nightclubs prepare to reopen after 2 years, but stand ready to eject those who flout Covid-19 rules

SINGAPORE — After being shut for more than two years, Club Rumours is all pumped up to welcome back patrons although it's also wary that it may have to turn away those who flout the Covid-19 protocols.

Club Rumours at Concorde Hotel shopping mall making preparations on April 18, 2022 to reopen its doors.

Club Rumours at Concorde Hotel shopping mall making preparations on April 18, 2022 to reopen its doors.

  • Party-goers will have to test negative on a supervised Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before they can get on the dance floor, with their masks on
  • Clubs that spoke to TODAY said they are glad to finally reopen their doors after two years
  • One club is worried crowds may not return, while another that shuttered its doors in September 2021 hopes to reopen in six months

SINGAPORE — After being shut for more than two years, Club Rumours is all pumped up to welcome back patrons although it's also wary that it may have to turn away those who flout the Covid-19 protocols.

The nightclub recognises that some partygoers may not be aware of the rule that they will have to test negative on a supervised antigen rapid test (ART) before they can get on the dance floor, with their masks on, from Tuesday (April 19) onwards. 

The Covid-19 test will be valid for 24 hours from the time of the test result.

"The ART tests also cost more for customers, and we're concerned people do not know it needs to be supervised and valid till we close at 6am, and they'll be unhappy if we turn them away," said Club Rumours director Mages Vari, 35.

"We also need to be stringent with our checks within the club and ensure people keep their masks up or we could risk being forced to shut down for flouting the safety measures."

Despite the safe management measures in place, clubs that spoke to TODAY are glad that they can finally open for the first time since Covid-19 shuttered their doors.

On April 4, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that all nightlife establishments would be able to reopen. This includes KTV establishments, clubs and discotheques. 

For Ms Mages, the reopening is the breath of life Club Rumours needed.

"We thought when we were suddenly forced to close in 2020, that it would only be three months or so, not two years," she said.

"Many clubs have closed down during this pandemic because we had no way of making revenue. This is good news but it took too long."

Club Rumours, located at Concorde Hotel, managed to keep afloat thanks to its landlord reducing rental. Now, Ms Mages and her team are hopeful they will be able to kickstart business again when they open their doors on Wednesday.

"We can reopen on Tuesday but it's a working day and there aren't many people who want to party till late. On Wednesday, it's at least Ladies' Night so we can expect a bit of crowd and refine our measures before the weekends," she said.

She estimates that they'll see about 40 per cent of their usual crowds on Wednesday, and a full house on Friday and Saturday night at the club whose capacity is less than 1,000 people.

Nightlife establishments that can cater to more than 1,000 people will have a 75 per cent capacity limit, if guests are masked without social distancing. The limit does not apply to establishments with lower capacities. 

ON-SITE ART PROVIDED

To make it easier for partygoers to have their night of fun, some clubs like Club Yang in Clarke Quay are offering on-site supervised ART by licensed providers.

The club will not be accepting walk-in guests to help control crowds within its premises, and has also limited guests to those above the age of 21.

"We want to ensure a fun and safe environment for all," said Mr Navin Silvaraju, 38, director for night business at 1 Group, Club Yang's parent company.

He added that the club has seen a peak in reservations and queries since the reopening was announced, and is fully booked on Friday and Saturday — although it would be at less than its usual capacity before the pandemic hit.

But for Ms Mages from Club Rumours, there is concern about whether crowds would return.

Noting that restaurants, bars and pubs have been able to reopen, and some now offer alcohol, have DJ performances or even allow their customers to dance at their tables, she feared people would not return to the clubs.

"People are used to these settings since they reopened earlier in the last two years," she said.

At least one club that closed during the pandemic is not in a hurry to reopen.

Mr Joshua Pillai, co-founder of entertainment group A Phat Cat Collective, is hoping to be able to reopen their club, Nineteen80, in the next six months.

The collective had announced its closure in September 2021, but received many enquiries when the authorities announced on March 24 that live performances would resume at venues.

"There was so much hype and questions, some even messaged us on Facebook to ask if we would reopen on the same day," said Mr Pillai, 40.

"But we have to do our due diligence and make sure we get our licensing and location sorted out, and also ensure our business model is stable so we can survive if we ever face another strain of Covid-19 that may force us to shut our doors," he said.

There's "a lot of work" that needs to be done before any reopening, Mr Pillai said, as he expressed his relief that curbs on nightlife establishments are finally being lifted.

"There's hope for the nightlife scene," he said.

Related topics

clubs Nightlife nightclub safe management measures Covid-19

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