Someone somewhere took a bite from a bad bat and here we are. Who would've guessed? Many scientists actually did, but let's not go there now. Let's rather discuss how bars, nightclubs and other nightlife venues across the USA can safely reopen and entertain their returning customers.

The hospitality industry is facing a challenge never seen before. Over a million bar and restaurant businesses with some 16 million employees in the USA are struggling and dealing with a lot of difficult questions: How can I reopen my bar safely and cost-efficiently? How will I survive with all the health code protocols and post-COVID requirements? Will customers return at all?

"The karaoke room has been a roaring success. We have a three week waiting list to manage and my only regret is not building two karaoke rooms." Steve Tinsley, Bar Manager, Hogarths

People come to bars because they want to hang with other people and be entertained. We know a thing or two about nightlife entertainment at Singa, and so does our network of over 1000 Singa-powered bars, nightclubs and other nightlife venues. What is safe? What is allowed? Can you organize karaoke nights? Live gigs? Open mic? What works the best?

Alright. Enough with the questions, here are some answers.

Post-COVID hospitality entertainment rules and guidelines

Hate to disappoint you right in the beginning, but unfortunately there is no nationwide bulletproof post-COVID playbook available. Regulations and requirements are changing and adapting to the current pandemic situation all the time. But all is not lost, here are some of the best sources for up-to-date information.

Here's even a cute little video with all the most important considerations:

CDC notes that considerations above are meant to supplement — not replace — any health and safety laws, rules, and regulations. So, remember to check the current reopening rules from your local health official.

The rules and regulations vary a lot locally

Different states and counties impose very different restrictions and guidelines. For example, in New York, licensed on-premise establishments (bars, taverns, restaurants, clubs, etc) can serve food, drinks and organize live entertainment such as karaoke, DJ gig or live music in accordance with the current occupancy and distancing guidelines.

In Florida, the Governor lifted almost all COVID restrictions for bars and restaurants statewide already in September. Miami decided to impose their own stricter set of rules.

"Bar and restaurant sales for the full year 2020 were $240 billion lower than expected levels." The National Restaurant Association

In Washington State, live entertainment including karaoke has been allowed since February with some restrictions in place.

California allows indoor concerts, theater performances, other private gatherings starting April 15. To attend, people will have to either be tested or show proof of full vaccination. Restrictions also vary depending on county.

The only way to know if live music, karaoke or other hospitality entertainment is allowed in your venue is to keep a close eye on the current local health and safety laws and rules. But in any case, the good news is that restrictions are being lifted across the USA and we are heading towards better times.

What is the best bar entertainment option in the post-COVID landscape?

It's been a catastrophic year for the hospitality industry. According to The National Restaurant Association, bar and restaurant sales for the full year 2020 were $240 billion lower than expected levels. Most operators have to really carefully evaluate the costs involved in entertaining their customers going forward. Live music or a DJ is a great option but it requires heavier investment to get started. On the other hand karaoke is easy to setup and running costs are significantly lower.

Pre-COVID karaoke room action looked like this! 

In many territories there are still some restrictions on live stage performances which might make it tricky to balance the return on your investment. One option is a karaoke room concept where a small group of friends can enjoy singing the night away in a private space. It's safer for your customers and if you do pre-bookings, a more predictable revenue stream.

Private karaoke room success story from Hogarths Bar

Hogarths, one of the Singa-powered bars in the United Kingdom, used a karaoke room successfully in their reopening strategy. "Since reopening our venue after the coronavirus pandemic, we have created a 'Bubble-oke' concept. In line with current guidance, we have social bubbles of people (a maximum of 6, from no more than 2 households) booking out the karaoke room for private use", says the bar manager Steve Tinsley.

Karaoke room at Hogarths

The karaoke room has been a roaring success for Hogarths, he continues: "I didn't think we would be considering any form of entertainment at the moment but with reduced capacity in the venue, the karaoke room is what is driving our revenue. We have tripled our hourly income from $100 pre lockdown to $300 now. We have a three week waiting list to manage and my only regret is not building two karaoke rooms."

Outdoor entertainment options for your bar

If there are still restrictions on organizing entertainment inside your bar, go outdoors! If your health official allows, of course. Being outside limits the risk of transmission and coronavirus is much less likely to spread. Live music or karaoke outdoors will definitely be a night to remember for your customers.

It's been a tough year for all of you working in the hospitality space, but we'll get through this together! If you want to talk more about entertaining your customers safely and keep them coming back, feel free to contact us anytime at +1 850-462-2565 or sales@singa.com. Check more information about Singa on our website.