Singapore MP appeals for government to introduce “balanced measures” for live music to return

Bars and nightlife establishments have been unable to operate with live music since March 2020

Singaporean Member Of Parliament (MP) Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin has appealed for the Singapore Government to introduce “balanced measures” and “clarity” on when live music  can return to bars and nightlife establishments.

F&B establishments and nightlife spots in the country have been unable to operate with live music performances since March 2020 due to COVID-19, resulting in many entertainment industry workers being unable to generate income.

Ms Nadia, an Ang Mo Kio GRC MP under the People’s Action Party (PAP), the country’s leading political party, appeared in Parliament on Tuesday (March 1) to give a speech during the ongoing 2022 Budget Debate. Watch her speech here.

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While her speech largely tackled the topic of mental health among the youth in Singapore, she also touched upon the entertainment industry, which has yet to recover since the start of the pandemic.

Yesterday (March 2), Ms Nadia took to social media to share some of her talking points regarding a wider return of live music in the Lion City.

“Artists, musicians, dancers, actors, physical trainers and many others have been unable to generate an income at different points in the pandemic. Some of them have been able to return to work, in limited capacity, others not so much,” she said.

She went on to highlight the plight of the musicians and DJs, who “previously held residencies as nightlife institutions”. She added that many workers in these professions “have not been able to continue their residences, and some hotspots have shuttered”.

Ms Nadia appealed for the Singapore government to “consider introducing balanced measures” that would enable the return of live music, while limiting the risk of transmissing COVID-19 while “performing on stage at an eatery that serves food and drink”.

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In regards to safety measures being relaxed in stages, Ms Nadia asked: “Can the government give some clarity on the conditions and circumstances when it anticipates the members of this community will be able to return to work?”

Ms Nadia’s questions have yet to be answered. It is unclear if a response can be expected over the remaining days of the Budget Debate, which will run for two weeks, beginning from February 28.

According to the National Arts Council (NAC), live performances at F&B establishments are currently prohibited “as there is a higher likelihood of mingling, talking, where food is being consumed with patrons who are unmasked”. Similarly, “higher risk activities such as singing and the playing of wind/brass instruments” are also not allowed at corporate events.

While the F&B industry still struggles with getting live music back, the concert and festival scene in Singapore is slowly starting to open up. While several festivals and concerts are still choosing to go the virtual route, larger events like Baybeats have seen a restricted return of live performances with limited capacity audiences and social distancing.

Singapore is currently test-piloting concerts with full attendance and zero social distancing, although all attendees will have to be vaccinated, exempted from vaccinations or fully recovered against COVID. These test pilots also require attendees to be masked at all times, with the prohibition of food and drink consumption.

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