Although it may seem like Singapore is one of the few places in the world that has not shut schools or implemented a nationwide lockdown yet, it doesn’t mean that nothing is being done here to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In fact, quite a number of measures have already been implemented and everyone is expected to adhere to them.
Unless you want to go to jail.
Lest you’re unaware, all entertainment venues in Singapore such as bars, discos, karaoke outlets, cinemas and theatres have officially been shut down.
They won’t be reopening any time before 30 Apr 2020.
Yes, the thought of living without entertainment for more than a month might seem crazy, but we all know that it’s for the best.
Shaw Theatres Using Break To Train Employees
However, one of the inevitable consequences of shutting down all these venues would be leaving many people working in these venues unemployed.
All cinemas in Singapore are included in the one-month closure, and the Shaw Organisation is trying their very best to look out for their staff during this difficult time.
The Shaw Organisation, which was founded in Singapore in 1925, currently has 7 cinemas and 70 screens in Singapore.
Shaw Theatres took to its Twitter page to thank everyone for their support and understanding while they closed all their operations to follow the Singapore government’s orders.
They also mentioned that they had put employment policies in place in order to protect and assist their staff.
According to a spokesperson, Shaw has 100 full-timers and 200 part-timers who are affected by the closure.
“As responsible employers, we have put in place employment policies to protect and assist our staff during this difficult period,” he said to CNA Lifestyle.
Shaw Theatres has decided to use this break to focus on training for their staff.
They will be arranging courses for staff to obtain WSQ (Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications) certification and conducting small group in-house training to prep their team for the re-opening of the cinemas.
They are also planning to do some swapping of roles and duties, like training their customer service officers in F&B and ticketing, for instance.
Pangdemonium Will Continue To Work On Next Production
Apart from cinemas, local theatres are also affected by this closure.
Theatre companies like Pangdemonium and Wild Rice have no choice but to halt all productions for the time being.
“We have to do our best to do what’s right, and take care of everyone the best way we can within our means,” said Adrian Pang, actor and artistic director of Pangdemonium, according to CNA Lifestyle.
He made an announcement to the theatre’s Facebook page to announce the cancellation of their production of The Glass Menagerie, which was scheduled to take place in June 2020.
However, despite the unfortunate suspension of their events, Pangdemonium is not going to let this bring them down.
“We cannot be theatre producers with nothing to produce. So, we are optimistically re-scheduling The Glass Menagerie into our 2021 Season, and in the meantime, we are working towards our next production of the musical The Full Monty in October 2020,” said Pang.
Wild Rice To Postpone Upcoming Productions
Wild Rice, one of Singapore’s leading professional theatre companies, has been struggling with tough social distancing measures since its opening season.
Now, they have it even worse, with no choice but to postpone all of their upcoming productions: Grandmother Tongue, An Inspector Calls and Hotel.
“We are deeply sorry for disappointing those who were looking forward to our upcoming shows,” said Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice.
“We kept our shows going for as long as we could, knowing how theatre can inspire and bring a community together in troubling times. However, the health and well-being of our patrons, artists and all who work with WILD RICE must take precedence.”
They are planning to announce new dates for one of its productions, Grandmother Tongue, while An Inspector Calls and Hotel will be postponed to 2021.
It’s heartbreaking to know that they put in months of endless effort for a show that had to end up getting postponed.
However, it’s great to hear that these cinemas and theatres are not giving up hope and that they’re looking forward to getting back on their feet again.
I guess on the bright side, they have an additional month to practise even harder to put on some splendid shows once 30 Apr rolls around.
As for unemployment issues, everyone who is left jobless because of Covid-19 can still expect to receive a certain sum of money from the government, as part of the Resilience Package.
You can find out more about it here.