Six venues in Singapore approved to host live shows with full audience capacity and no social distancing

Singapore may soon see more live performance events with full audience capacity and no social distancing between attendees under an expanded pilot.

On Saturday January 22, the National Arts Council of Singapore (NAC) announced that organizations could soon apply to hold such events at six designated venues under what is being called the VDS+Test pilot.

“VDS” refers to vaccination-differentiated safe management measures – or relaxed COVID-19 safety measures for fully vaccinated people – while “test” refers to a negative rapid antigen test (ART) result.

These events – if approved – can have 100% audience capacity with no safe distance between attendees. So far, the only venues licensed to host such pilot performances are Esplanade, Theaters on the Bay; Victoria Theater and Victoria Concert Hall; Singapore Conference Hall; Wild rice @ Founan; Singapore Repertoire Theatre; and Sands Theater at Marina Bay Sands.

All members of the public must be either fully vaccinated or exempt from vaccination, and must produce valid negative ART results at least 24 hours before the end of the event. During performances, the public must remain fully masked and seated at all times. They will not be allowed to consume food or drink.

This marks Singapore’s expansion of the VDS+ Test protocol, which was announced in November and was previously only in place for select events, including JJ Lin’s two-day After The Rain concert at the Sands Theatre. Around 4,000 attendees – including Singapore’s health minister Ong Ye Kung – were at the two sold-out shows on November 27 and 28.

Applications for the VDS+ Test Pilot events will be open from Tuesday, January 25, by the NAC. Event organizers should submit their proposals at least one month in advance.

These events will need to be approved by the NAC, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and any other relevant government agency in accordance with the country’s safe management measures.

Kenneth T. Shippee