Some nightlife businesses struggle

Kloud Karaoke Lounge has not been able to reopen for about half a year since the two-month circuit breaker, which started in April, on account of government concerns that nightlife settings such as clubs and karaoke lounges are high-risk areas for Covid-19 to spread.

And it might just remain that way permanently next month if things do not improve, as the pandemic drags on and rental costs for the four-year-old karaoke lounge in Tanjong Katong snowball.

"Every day there is a delay, we have to bear with the rental," said Mr Ronald Ng, Kloud Karaoke Lounge's director.

"Our landlords chase us for rental... and it's not a small sum... I don't know whether we can hold on until next month."

Things are getting dire for some nightlife operators with no certainty on when they can reopen, since Government updates on Tuesday suggest their businesses cannot resume even at the start of phase three of Singapore's reopening, which could happen by the end of the year.

And pivoting to other lines of business to remain afloat has been very challenging for many, for various reasons.

It was reported in August that a poll by the Singapore Nightlife Business Association and the Singapore Entertainment Affiliation, which represents karaoke operators, found that less than 10 per cent of respondents said they would survive till the end of this month.

While larger businesses are able to bear the financial costs of retooling, smaller ones such as entertainment company A Phat Cat Collective are feeling the pinch.

Co-founder Francesca Way and her colleagues have been working to turn their two bars - nineteen80 and Pinball Wizard - into food and beverage outlets.

Ms Way cited concerns in bearing the financial costs of pivoting, as well as difficulties in getting the proper licences.

"Building something like a kitchen set-up costs over five figures," she added.

The Straits Times


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