A rule that bars karaoke parlours and discotheques from installing exit doors and alarm systems is among those that need to be changed while ensuring stricter management of such establishments, officials say.
They conceded at a conference held in the capital city last Thursday that the rule, aimed to prevent escapes from surprise raids by authorities was one that inhibits safety of staff and patrons.
The conference, held to review implementation of regulations covering these entertainment establishments, focused particularly on increasing safety, given the recent spate of fires that have cost many lives and damaged property.
A fire that broke out at a karaoke parlour in the northern province of Lang Son last November killed four people.
In another incident, ten people died of asphyxiation at a karaoke parlour in the northern province of Quang Ninh last September. The accident was caused by exhaust fumes from an indoor power generator.
Stricter management over operation of karaoke bars and discotheques is needed to ensure safety while promoting it as a kind of healthy cultural entertainment for people.
Officials from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported at the conference that there are at least 17,400 karaoke parlours and discotheques nationwide, but many are operating without business licences, and do not meet fire prevention and control standards, putting customers at risk.
Representatives from many localities said the biggest challenge in State management of these establishments was the lack of comprehensive regulations.
They said that at present karaoke bars and discotheques are licensed once, and the license neither expires nor does it require renewal.
Many establishments have stopped operations, but there was no regulation to revoke their licences, leading to some reselling their business licences to others. This made management more difficult for authorities, the conference heard.
Conference participants suggested that the Government amends several regulations to increase efficiency of State management over the operation of karaoke bars and discotheques.
They said that these establishments should be required to renew their licensces every two years and the licences of those that stop operations for more than six months should be revoked.
Hoang Minh Thai, head of the ministry's Legal Department, said localities should carefully check plans and match them with real conditions before granting licences.
They should also step up inspections and increase dissemination of information to raise public awareness, he said.