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No KTV lounges in Covid-19 cluster got government grant to convert business: MTI, ESG

SINGAPORE — None of the establishments in the KTV Covid-19 cluster had received a grant to enable them to pivot to other permissible activities such as food-and-beverage (F&B) operations, the authorities said on Wednesday (July 21).

No KTV lounges in Covid-19 cluster got government grant to convert business: MTI, ESG

Las Vegas KTV at Parklane Shopping Mall, one of the karaoke lounges that were ordered to close for two weeks from July 16, 2021 due to a likely ongoing Covid-19 spread.

SINGAPORE — None of the establishments in the KTV Covid-19 cluster had received a grant to enable them to pivot to other permissible activities such as food-and-beverage (F&B) operations, the authorities said on Wednesday (July 21).

In a joint press release, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said that they wished to “clarify comments and misperceptions” about recent breaches of Covid-19 safety regulations by illegal KTV clubs masquerading as F&B outlets that resulted in the spread of the disease.

As of Wednesday, more than 400 former nightlife establishments have pivoted to other approved uses and of these, only 18 have received ESG’s support package to convert to F&B operations, the statement said. 

“Of these 18 establishments, 10 were bars and pubs, six were nightclubs and discos and two were karaoke establishments. None of the establishments belonging to the KTV Covid-19 cluster received a pivot grant,” MTI and ESG said.

They noted that all nightlife establishments were not permitted to operate from March 27 last year, owing to the pandemic.

Back then, many businesses and the Singapore Nightlife Business Association had appealed to the Government to allow them to pivot to other permissible activities, including F&B services.

The Government allowed selected establishments to do so from October 2020 after considering the challenges faced by the industry, the statement said.

Nightlife establishments that wished to do so had to first obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant regulatory agencies. 

The firms were required to submit a business plan, including details on the operational requirements.

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

They added that approved applicants were eligible for a pivot grant of up to S$50,000 from ESG, to defray qualifying costs incurred during the conversion, such as equipment and third-party consultancy costs. 

Grants are given on a reimbursement basis and disbursed only upon satisfactory checks of the required documentation and onsite inspection.

The Singapore Nightlife Business Association’s website stated that to be eligible for the grant support, applicants are required to be an F&B or entertainment business that is not permitted to open based on existing Covid-19 guidelines.

They must also obtain in-principle approvals or similar documentation from the relevant authorities to pivot to a permitted business activity and must be a business entity that is registered or incorporated in Singapore, among other things.

MTI and ESG highlighted that various agencies including ESG, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Singapore Tourism Board check on all F&B establishments to ensure compliance with all safe management measures. 

Checks on nightlife operators that have converted their business model are jointly conducted with the Singapore Police Force, they added.

“Agencies will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action against errant operators. If found in breach of safe management measures, grant terms or declarations as submitted in the grant applications, ESG reserves the right to recover the grants even after disbursement.”

On Tuesday, the police and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment outlined the checks and actions that had been taken against nightspots since October last year.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of Covid-19 cases linked to the KTV lounge cluster was 215.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus nightlife KTV F&B grant MTI ESG

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