Audience capacities for live performances in Singapore will be slashed as COVID-19 restrictions tighten this weekend due to a spike in local cases.
The restrictions that go into effect this Saturday (May 8) mean that up to 250 people will be allowed to attend live performances with pre-event testing – down from the previous figure of 750. Live performances that do not offer pre-event testing will be allowed a maximum of 100 people in the audience – down from 250.
This May 4 announcement by the country’s Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) rolls back changes unveiled in March. A recent resurgence in community coronavirus cases – 62 in the past week alone – has prompted the Singapore government to tighten restrictions on social gatherings, work arrangements and more. This effectively moves Singapore back to its Phase Two set of restrictions until May 30.
“We certainly hope not to have to invoke another circuit breaker,” MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong said in a press conference, as reported by The Straits Times. “But we have proposed quite a stringent and tight set of measures, so that we can respond robustly and pre-emptively to the latest outbreak of clusters and do our best to snuff them out early, and reduce the likelihood of having to impose more drastic measures down the road.”
Singapore’s National Arts Council had begun permitting live performances, with restrictions, as far back as September 2020. At first only selected venues, with an audience cap of 50, were allowed to host those shows. That cap was gradually increased, first to 100 in November, then to 250 audience members in December.
In December 2020, Benjamin Kheng, Sezairi and Charlie Lim headlined the Marina Bay Sands’ Back to Live concerts, with a maximum capacity of 500 audience members – the country’s biggest concerts since the start of its circuit breaker lockdown.
Singapore has even hosted international performers this year. In April, a concert featuring Taiwanese artists Yuming Lai and Where Chou was held at Capitol Theatre. Concert promoters IMC Live Global have also planned for a concert by fellow Taiwan export Claire Kuo on June 25 at the same venue.