Singapore’s no-sex karaoke joints bitter after hostess outbreak ‘trashed’ reopening hopes

An online petition created by family karaoke outlets that pleads to be regulated differently than the so-called KTV clubs. Image: Change.org
An online petition created by family karaoke outlets that pleads to be regulated differently than the so-called KTV clubs. Image: Change.org

Karaoke parlors catering to all ages want to play by different rules from the raunchy joints that sent Singapore spiraling out of COVID control.

Nine family karaoke outlets yesterday launched a petition to distance themselves from the KTV nightclubs that fueled the largest active COVID cluster – 88 so far and counting since Tuesday – and be allowed to reopen after over a year.

“We (a group of Family Karaoke Businesses) see that there is a need to separate us from Nightclubs and KTV with hostess. We are not the same. We do not have hostess; we are not primarily night-time businesses or adult only venues,” the petition read. “Lumping us together in the overly broad nightlife category is not justifiable.”

In their Change.org petition, the outlets proposed catering only to fully vaccinated customers in private rooms where masks are worn and everything is thoroughly disinfected. 

“When government announced on 24th June that we are moving forward with plans to lift more restrictions, we see a glimmer of hope. But the latest news about the new cluster formed from a KTV Lounge due to a social hostess have trashed our hopes,” the group wrote.  

The participating outlets are 7th Heaven KTV & Cafe, Sing My Song Family Karaoke, K Voice Family Karaoke, Teo Heng KTV Pte Ltd, 8 Degree Lounge, Major 99 – Family Karaoke & Entertainment Center, HaveFun KTV, K Star, and Cash Studio.

Though karaoke services have been closed since March 2020, those with food licenses were allowed to resume operations. That included the at least three KTV clubs linked to more than 80 infections in recent days. 

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Manpower Ministry said in a statement today that the first reported infection from the cluster was a Vietnamese national who entered the country in February and tested positive Sunday for COVID-19. She had frequented several KTV outlets prior.

Publicly, blame has been pinned on Vietnamese sex workers; 20 foreign women were arrested Wednesday for alleged links to the lounges. 

Singapore yesterday reported 48 new cases, 42 of which were linked to the KTVs. In total, the country has recorded 62,852 cases and 36 deaths.  

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Appetite for karaoke girls fuels Singapore’s biggest COVID surge since September
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