Some karaoke operators report healthy bookings but April 19 reopening too late for others
SINGAPORE — Some KTV lounges are ready to reopen on April 19 under eased Covid-19 measures with steady bookings coming in, but for others, such as Sing My Song Family Karaoke, the move to revive the nightlife industry has come too late.
- The easing of Covid-19 measures for the nightlife industry have been welcomed but some karaoke operators have closed down
- Those that survived the pandemic are busy with preparations for the April 19 reopening
- Booking enquiriess are healthy but not as strong as anticipated by some family karaoke chains
SINGAPORE — Some karaoke outlets are ready to reopen on April 19 under eased Covid-19 measures with steady bookings coming in, but for others, such as Sing My Song Family Karaoke, the move to revive the nightlife industry has come too late.
Mr Frank Per, owner of the karaoke in PLQ Mall in Paya Lebar, said the landlord had taken back the unit just the day after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the easing of various Covid-19 measures on March 24.
"We owed five months of outstanding rent and it was fair to both parties to cut down losses. We agreed to exit," he told TODAY on Wednesday (April 6).
After news of the eased Covid-19 measures, Mr Per received more than 100 calls from friends and relatives pleased to hear that the outlet looked set to be up and running again.
He appealed to the landlord to get the unit back but on Thursday, the request was declined. He is looking for a new location.
"I have passion for this trade and never want to give it up," Mr Per said.
On Monday, the Government announced that all nightlife venues will be able to reopen fully on April, subject to some safe management measures.
For example, for venues where dancing is one of the intended activities, a negative antigen rapid test is required before entry. The test must be conducted by a Ministry of Health approved test provider, either in-person or remotely.
“I have passion for this trade and never want to give up.Mr Frank Per, owner of Sing My Song Family Karaoke, which is closing down”
The sector was badly hit by the pandemic. For example, in mid-2021, some nightspots that had pivoted to food and beverage outlets under a government programme were linked to a major Covid-19 outbreak.
Other family karaoke businesses that closed during the pandemic do not have plans to reopen so soon, if at all.
Mr Ho Ming Shun, former owner of Kloud Karaoke at Tanjong Katong Road, told TODAY: “I am not sure of plans to reopen. It is a long process to reopen and it will not be any time soon.”
Kloud Karaoke closed its doors in August last year.
Mr Ronald Ng, chairman of the Singapore Entertainment Alliance, said two years after the pandemic began, there are fewer than 100 karaoke lounges and night clubs in Singapore.
Many had closed during the pandemic, he added.
One chain, Teo Heng, was left with four outlets out of 14 pre-pandemic, Mr Ng said.
"Many did not have the resources to hang on for so long."
On a more positive note, Mr Ng added: "We are happy night life and karaoke outlets can resume business and we can fully return to the norm. Businesses will adhere to any measures imposed."
SURVIVING BUSINESSES EAGER TO GET BACK TO NORMAL
Karaoke businesses that survived the pandemic are eager to resume and are busy with reopening preparations such as cleaning, sanitising and testing karaoke machines and microphones after two years of not being in use.
Teo Heng's spokesperson Jace Teo said: "We are still receiving a lot of enquiries. Our Suntec branch is fully booked on April 19, whereas the other outlets are receiving good responses, especially for holidays and weekends."
Staff at its JCube outlet told TODAY that its phone had been ringing all day with booking requests.
Cash Studio, a family karaoke chain, currently has three outlets operating as eateries and two others temporarily used as production studios since January 2022.
"We are planning to convert our outlets back to karaoke as it is our preferred trade. But we will keep premises open for media production," Cash Studio marketing director Caine Poon said.
On how many bookings Cash Studio has received since the announcement of resuming services, he said: "Not as many as expected, about 100 bookings over one to two weeks after reopening."
Party World KTV and HaveFun Karaoke have not responded to TODAY queries on plans to reopen.