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Zouk, other clubs reopen to full houses, queues amid crowd control measures including reduced capacities

SINGAPORE — Ms Kriti Tulsian and her three friends were hoping for a fun night on the dance floor on Wednesday (April 20) but had their hopes dashed when they were turned away from club Zouk.

Partygoers waiting to enter Club Yang in Clarke Quay at around 11pm on April 20, 2022.

Partygoers waiting to enter Club Yang in Clarke Quay at around 11pm on April 20, 2022.

  • A mix of regular partygoers and first-timers thronged clubs in Clarke Quay as nightlife resumed in full force on Wednesday (April 20)
  • However, a minority were turned away as most clubs have disallowed walk-ins to better handle crowds
  • Nightlife establishments, such as clubs and KTVs, were allowed to resume operations on April 19 after two years of closure
  • While some lamented the mask-wearing and Covid-19 testing requirements, most were just thrilled to spend a night on the town

SINGAPORE — Ms Kriti Tulsian and her three friends were hoping for a fun night on the dance floor on Wednesday (April 20) but had their hopes dashed when they were turned away from club Zouk.

“I didn’t know you need tickets now to enter clubs… you used to be able to walk in and just party,” the 25-year-old engineer lamented.

She was one of seven hopeful partygoers who were disappointed that Zouk was not allowing walk-ins to the club.

However, most who spoke to TODAY were armed with tickets, ready for their first clubbing experience in two years — some for the first time in their life.

Nightclubs were forced to shut in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

More than two years later, on April 4, the authorities announced that all nightlife establishments, including nightclubs, would be able to reopen on April 19.

For friends Hannah Ong and Hannah Poh, the reopening meant the two 20-year-olds could finally have their first clubbing experience at Zouk.

“Our friends asked if we wanted to go on the first night, and of course we wanted to,” said Ms Ong.

“It’s a rite of passage to go clubbing, so regardless of the masks and ART (antigen rapid test), I’m just excited to enter,” said Ms Poh. The duo were with eight other friends, some of whom have clubbed at Zouk.

As for Ms Rachelle Hristenko, the reopening is “surreal” as she looked forward to seeing familiar faces at Zouk, her usual clubbing haunt she used to visit twice weekly.

“We haven’t had loud music blasting in two years… I miss having a good time and seeing everyone again, it's been so suffocating,” said the 28-year-old designer.

Ms Hristenko was getting her supervised ART at Zouk’s on-site ART testing centre, located near the car park opposite the club.

“(Zouk) had all the instructions on what we needed to do, like masking up and getting tested, on their social media so it’s pretty straightforward,” she said.

Zouk patrons at an ART station at the Clarke Quay car park next to Zouk Club, April 20, 2022.

At Zouk, revellers were streaming in as the club opened its doors at 10pm. For Zouk’s chief finance officer Alex Phua, all hands were on deck to ensure the club’s opening night goes smoothly.

“Preparing for reopening has been a mad rush… our team working in our headquarters and from our restaurants are all here to help as we’re still tight on manpower and have to train (our workers). But we’re all very excited to finally welcome back the community,” he said.

The club is fully booked for the month, but is operating at a capacity of 500 partygoers — just a quarter of the club’s maximum capacity of 2,000. 

“There’s pent-up demand for clubbing, but we have to limit so we can manage the crowds… ensure everyone’s masks are up,” said Mr Phua.

NO MORE GUESTS LISTS

Over at Club Yang in Clarke Quay, a line of more than 20 eager clubgoers were waiting to enter when TODAY visited at 11pm.

In line was Mr Jasper Chua, 24, who does sales in the fitness industry, with his eight other friends.

“Today’s special because we’re finally able to enjoy the atmosphere, music and vibes after two years,” he said.

However, Mr Chua lamented the inconvenience he and his friends went through to get themselves a supervised ART as they were not aware Club Yang had an on-site ART centre.

“I had to swab during lunch break, and for (my friends) some found it quite hard to find a slot to get a supervised test,” he said. He said it was also pricey, and hopes that subsidies would be introduced.

As for 31-year-old Shaifudin Suhaimi, the clubs reopening meant he could rekindle his passion for deejaying.

“It’s like, finally. The crowds, the interactions, everything… it's finally back,” the part-time DJ, who goes by DJ Shai, exclaimed.

“But a lot has changed, gone are the guest lists, bringing our friends in and seeing (everyone's) faces… but of course, I’m just thankful (for the reopening),” he said, adding he’s glad that there was a crowd on a Wednesday night.

Partygoers at Zouk club, April 20, 2022.

The crowds were a far cry from April 19, the first day of the lifted restrictions on nightlife establishments, as clubs traditionally do not open on Tuesdays.

Most clubs have removed guests lists, which allowed people to enter without paying the entrance fee, and reduced walk-ins, opting for compulsory reservations or tickets to better control crowds.

Things were quieter at Club Rumours at Concorde Hotel when TODAY visited at midnight, but director Mages Vari remained hopeful as the club had opened at 11pm.

It had amassed about 30 customers by 1.30am, and Ms Mages expects more people to come by 3am.

“We’re quite a late club as we close at 6am, but it's good that we’re able to test run our procedures before our full-house on Friday and Saturday,” she said.

They had turned away seven customers as they had not done a supervised ART, and the club is working on getting an on-site test centre for this weekend.

One of the first customers at Club Rumours was Mr Sharvin Rajendran, 25, a casino dealer who was excited to finally enjoy the music and atmosphere.

“It’s troublesome to have masks up and do the Covid-19 tests, but it's what the Government requires, so what can we do? I’m just glad that, finally, it's open,” he said. 

Partygoers at Club Rumours in the early hours of April 21, 2022.

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nightclub nightlife Covid-19

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