Nightlife trade association calls for tougher penalties for errant operators in open letter

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SINGAPORE — An association representing nightlife business owners has called for tougher penalties for operators who flout the rules and will work with authorities to crack down on bad actors.

In a proposal presented in an open letter on Friday July 23, the Singapore Nightlife Business Association (SNBA) also recommended that the 400 nightlife establishments that transitioned to the food and beverage sector last October be placed under the police oversight, rather than that of the authorities overseeing food operations.

This is the third ring in its three-ring approach to clearing the sector.

The first would be to stop Covid-19 transmissions spreading from KTV outlets, and the second is to offer help and secure commitments from the 400 pivoted businesses.

The 300-member SNBA said its aim was to rebuild, revitalize and restart Singapore’s nightlife industry with responsible operators, and see it emerge from its current challenges.

“Over the past few weeks, the wide spectrum of nightlife has suffered unfairly from the misdeeds of a handful of errant operators who operate illegal KTVs with unlicensed social hostesses,” he said.

“We only call for understanding that the KTV cluster is not representative of nightlife, not even close.”

The cluster was discovered on July 12 and has since swelled to more than 220 cases.

It has also been linked to a cluster at Jurong fishing port, which topped 570 cases on Friday.

The large number of cases has led Singapore to return to a heightened state of alert, which has impacted many businesses, including those in the nightlife industry.

The first ring of the approach proposed by the SNBA, to quickly eliminate the KTV cluster in the coming days, suggests reviewing sensitive areas, imposing heavier sanctions and setting up a whistleblowing platform allowing the public to point out bad actors.

These reports would be immediately forwarded to the authorities.

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