It feels like this was a long time coming.
You’ll no longer be able to spend the wee hours of the morning prowling around Orchard Towers from May 2023, as the nightclubs’ licences will not be renewed.
Law and Order Has Not Improved Over The Years
A police spokesman told The Straits Times on 12 August that the law and order in Orchard Towers have not improved over the years.
The police have been consistently getting lots of feedback (read: complaints) from nearby residents and neighbouring developments on “concerns over public safety, vice activities and nuisance contributed by the presence of nightclubs and bars at Orchard Towers.”
Orchard Towers has two 25-storey blocks. The commercial block is filled with retail units on the first five floors, and offices on the other levels. It is linked to the mixed-development block via an overhead bridge, which includes residential units.
The nightclub operators received an official notice last month that stated that their Public Entertainment Licences will not be renewed beyond May 2023.
12 commercial units are affected by this.
Many Nightclubs Just Renewed Leases, Labels Decision as Unfair
Speaking to The Straits Times, many landlords and operators said this move came as a surprise, as many of them just renewed their leases with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.
This decision will affect the livelihoods of about 200 full-time employees of these nightclubs, which some operators said is unfair. Many operators have been law-abiding, yet this blanket ban is affecting them due to the few unlawful clubs.
Additionally, the operators have lamented that the bulk of vice activities wasn’t even stemming from the nightclubs. Instead, it was due to the exponentially increasing amount of “beauty salons” in the building.
FYI, massage parlours need to get a licence to operate, but beauty salons that don’t provide massage services don’t need a licence.
According to The Straits Times, hoards of scantily clad women could be seen trying to persuade men to go into such salons at the towers.
Moreover, when they found women approaching men to buy them drinks in exchange for “companionship”, the women claimed to not be hired by the clubs. Instead, they were in Singapore on holiday.
Will Try to Help Affected Nightclubs
The police said that operators and landlords will have until May 2023 to make adjustments. The spokesman also stated that the operators could apply to the Urban Redevelopment Authority for a change of use application for their Orchard Towers Premises.
Alternatively, they could relocate operations and apply for another Public Entertainment Licence.
The Singapore Nightlife Business Association also said that they will try to help the affected operators.
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