Singapore Defers Reopening of Nightclubs as Virus Cases Rise

Singapore will defer reopening some nightclubs and karaoke outlets until further notice in an attempt to curb the risk of coronavirus spread following an increase in the number of community cases.

The reopening of those nightlife establishments under a pilot program was due to start this month but has now been postponed given that the enclosed spaces would allow people to come into close contact for prolonged periods of time, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Two nightclubs and 10 karaoke outlets were shortlisted for the pilot.

“It is uncertain when the pilot may be able to commence, given the dynamic public health situation,” the ministries said. “Agencies will review the commencement of the pilots at a suitable juncture.”

Reviving the nightlife industry, some of which have remained shut for many months, was an attempt by Singapore to resume some normalcy after various restrictions managed to contain the spread in the community to near zero. Still, cases have ticked up in the past couple of weeks, although the majority of them are imported. As of Tuesday, there were 30 new cases, out of which four were locally transmitted, the Health Ministry said in its preliminary daily update.

The pilot for bars and pubs, on the other hand, will go ahead for now as it has already started. Authorities continue to monitor the situation closely, according to the government statement.

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