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Teo Heng's Suntec City outlet fully booked till June

Family-style karaoke chain Teo Heng is back on song again, with its reopening on Tuesday (April 19) drawing students, married couples who took the day off, and long-time regulars to its Suntec City outlet.

The branch, which has 19 rooms, is already fully booked till June, such is the pent-up demand for belting out tunes and despite Teo Heng raising prices in all its four outlets.

The one in JCube is also fully booked on weekends and holidays till May.

"Causeway Point is catching up soon, even though we only opened bookings yesterday... Star Vista is filling up too, people have been calling non-stop," said Ms Jean Teo, one of the directors at Teo Heng KTV.

Family KTV outlets are among all nightlife establishments that can reopen on Tuesday after going dark for more than two years because of the pandemic.

The reprieve for the battered nightlife sector comes after several safe management measures were eased and daily numbers of reported Covid-19 cases began to decline from late February.

Among the patrons who turned up for a mid-day slot at Teo Heng's Suntec City outlet was Eunoia Junior College student Rachel Lin and her group of eight friends.

"Today we had home-based learning - we just wanted to sing and have fun (after we were done with our homework)," said Ms Lin, 18. This was the group's first time in a karaoke outlet after more than two years.

Their first song on the queue? Taiwanese singer-songwriter Eric Chou's Ni Hao Bu Hao (Hi How Are You).

Said Ms Lin: "It's one of my favourite songs... I used to go to KTVs once a week during my secondary school days. Today's two-hour booking is barely enough, and we're hoping to get an extra hour (to sing)."

The increase in price for bookings - due to higher rental and utility costs - did not dampen the enthusiasm of patrons The Straits Times spoke to.

A small room that used to cost $8 per hour during happy hours (noon to 7pm) is now $12 per hour. During peak hours from 7pm till closing, the bill is $18 an hour.

Medium rooms' hourly rates are $14 (happy hours) and $20 (peak hours), while those for large rooms are $16 (happy hours) and $24 (peak hours).

Depending on the room size, up to 10 people are allowed to be in the room at any one time.

The chain, which used to have 14 outlets, lost 10 to the pandemic, and Ms Teo is hopeful that the business can bounce back.

"We will try our best to accommodate everyone... we know people really want to sing here, but we have to apologise that we can't have everyone," she said.

"Hopefully when we regain our energy, we can expand the business and (open in) more areas that are convenient for customers."

Started in 1990, Teo Heng is touted as one of the pioneers in the karaoke industry here.

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