TOP

16 February 2021

Cross Sector Questions

 
Gradual Resumption of Business Activities

1. What are the plans for the resumption of business activities?

Businesses will resume activities in a phased manner:

2. Are tourism businesses permitted to resume operations?

As part of the resumption of activities in Phase 2 after the Circuit Breaker, tourism businesses in Singapore are permitted to resume operations in stages from 1 July 2020. For the list of tourism businesses that are permitted to resume, please visit https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/permitted-tourism-businesses.html.

Attractions, tour operators and tourist guides are required to submit their reopening proposals to STB for assessment. Operators must demonstrate effective implementation of safe management measures (SMMs) to provide a safe environment for customers and workers, and may resume operations only after receiving approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). These proposals must include SMMs that are tailored to reduce the COVID-19 transmission risks at each attraction or tour. Please refer to the advisories for attractions and tours for the full list of requirements.

Hotels may apply to STB to reopen recreation areas for children (e.g. Kids' Club) and provide accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure (e.g. staycations). Hotels may submit their application to STB for assessment and may only resume these business activities and related marketing efforts after receiving approval from MTI. Hotels that wish to resume these activities must comply with the required SMMs. Please refer to the advisory for hotels for the full list of requirements.

MICE Event Organisers and venues (collectively, EOs) must submit a joint application and event proposal for STB’s assessment. EOs must demonstrate the readiness and capabilities to implement SMMs required to meet the five outcomes to pilot MICE events in a safe and controlled manner. If STB is satisfied with the proposal, MTI will give the EO approval to carry out the event. Details on the types of events currently permissible can be found here. With effect from 28 September 2020, companies can organise consumer-facing events such as product launches, store openings and marketing/ branding events within its own premises. Prevailing SMMs apply and can be found here.

Support for COVID-19

1. What assistance measures are there for businesses?

As part of the first set of measures to help tourism businesses, licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides have been waived. More information here

The Government has introduced several measures to help Singaporeans and businesses, including those in the tourism industry, cope with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. For full details, refer to https://www.mof.gov.sg/singaporebudget

Tourism businesses should take full advantage of the support provided to stabilise their operations, manage their cash flow, transform their businesses, grow and deepen their manpower capabilities and keep workers employed. The measures that tourism businesses can tap on can be found here.

Support will also be given to help businesses and individuals defray third-party professional cleaning and disinfection costs for premises with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Full details here.

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act seeks to provide temporary relief to those who are unable to perform their contractual obligations because of COVID-19 and the resulting safe distancing measures. For the full list of specific contracts covered under this Bill, or for more information, please refer to the Ministry of Law’s website or STB’s website.

The Ministry of Health has also set up the Quarantine Order Allowance (QOA) Scheme to mitigate financial impact for those who have been served Quarantine Orders. Under the scheme, claims of $100 per day can be made by two groups:

  • Self-employed; and
  • Employers, who have employees issued with Quarantine Orders

Please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website for more details on the QOA scheme.  

2. How will the extension on the Job Support Scheme (JSS) be useful to businesses in the tourism sector?

JSS provides wage support for employers to retain their local employees during this period of economic uncertainty. All active employers, with the exception of Government organisations (local and foreign) and representative offices, are eligible for the JSS. Under the COVID-19 Resilience Package, the scheme will be further extended and provide continued support for businesses and workers by covering wages paid from April to June 2021. The JSS support levels will be tapered based on the projected recovery of the various sectors. For more information, please refer to https://go.gov.sg/jss.

Travel Restrictions and Precautionary Measures

1. Who is allowed to enter Singapore?

Please visit the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's website for information on the groups that are allowed to enter Singapore and the relevant measures.

2. What are the latest measures for inbound travellers?

Please visit the Ministry of Health's website for the latest health advisory and measures for inbound travellers. The measures for inbound travellers can also be found here.

3. What are the requirements for travellers seeking to enter Singapore under the various travel arrangements?

We have re-opened our borders progressively through various travel arrangements, with the necessary safeguards in place to ensure the health and well-being of our community and foreign visitors.

Due to the evolving situation, the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble has been deferred and the Singapore-Japan Reciprocal Green Lane has been suspended. RGL arrangements have also been suspended with Germany, Malaysia and South Korea for three months from 1 February 2021. 

In addition, Singapore’s border control measures will be tightened with new restrictions put in place for visitors travelling from the following countries/territories, until further notice.

Click here for updates on border restrictions for visitors travelling from:

  • New South Wales (Australia)
  • United Kingdom and South Africa
  • Vietnam

All travellers (including SCs and PRs) will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore. The prevailing SHN requirements, including the PCR test at the end of the SHN, will continue.

Check out the SafeTravel website for the latest updates on the border measures and to learn more about the requirements of the respective travel arrangements. 

Protecting our staff and visitors

1. Should frontline staff wear masks?

Everyone must wear a mask when outside of their homes. This applies to workers at all workplace premises.

2. What precautions should we adopt to ensure safe distancing?

Most activities are allowed to resume, subject to the following safe distancing principles:

a. As a default, measures should be in place to ensure that individuals maintain safe distancing of at least one metre at all times

b. Where not feasible or practical to apply one metre safe distancing between individuals, this one metre requirement can instead be enforced between groups, with each group made up of not more than eight persons, and with no mixing of groups. Other safe management measures (SMMs) should also be in place.

Businesses must also comply with the SMMs outlined at https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general (“Safe Management Requirements”) and any sector-specific requirements which apply to them. Businesses should also refer to https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safe-management-measures to continue to ensure safe workplaces. These requirements include the staggering of working and break hours, ensuring clear physical spacing of at least one metre between persons, and implementing SafeEntry to record the entry of all personnel and visitors. Strict checks will be conducted, and businesses that do not provide a safe workplace for our workers will have their operations suspended until they are able to do so.

Businesses and organisations are reminded to play their part to keep Singapore safe. Should they be unable to meet the safe management principles, businesses and organisations can engage the relevant agencies to seek approval for alternative safe distancing measures. Such businesses and activities should only open when they are ready. Businesses and organisations found to be flouting safe management principles may be required to close.

3. What do we do if a customer is a suspected case?

Please refer your customers to the nearest General Practitioner (GP) for medical treatment. The GP will refer patients who meet the case definition for COVID-19 to the hospital via a dedicated ambulance for further assessment.

Business Costs

1. How do we handle requests for refunds from affected customers?

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, businesses and individuals who are unable to perform their contractual obligations due on or after 1 February 2020 because of COVID-19, will be given time to work out a solution with the other party without the threat or uncertainty of litigation or legal proceedings.

This provides temporary relief from legal action for up to six months. To claim relief, one party to a contract should serve a notification for relief on the other party.

However, it does not mean that obligations are postponed or are absolved. Parties may still be charged interest or penalties if they delay in performance or fail to perform.

This Bill applies to specific contracts entered into or renewed before 25 March 2020.

For the full list of specific contracts covered under this Bill, or for more information, please refer to the Ministry of Law’s website or STB’s website.

Sector Specific Questions

 
Hotels

1. When can bars and F&B establishments within my premises re-open?

Dining-in at F&B establishments and re-opening of bars within hotels are allowed in Phase 2 of the Government’s plan to exit the Circuit Breaker, but the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited after 2230 hours daily.

F&B Eestablishments that serve food and beverage (including alcoholic beverages) that are permitted to operate must implement Safe Management Measures, as required by the Ministry of Manpower and comply with the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations. In addition, F&B establishments are required to comply with the measures set out here.

For the nightlife industry, please click here for more information on small-scale pilots for selected bars and pubs. 

2. Are staycations allowed?

Hotels may apply to STB to resume the provision of accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure (e.g. staycations). Any hotel that wishes to apply must comply with the safe management measures required for hotels. Please refer to the advisory for hotels for the full list of requirements.

Hotels must submit their application to STB for assessmnet. Hotels may resume the provision of accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure and related marketing efforts only after receiving approval from MTI. 

The list of approved hotels can be found here.

3. Can marriage solemnisations and receptions be held at my premises?

From 3 October 2020, marriage solemnisations are allowed to take place with up to 100 persons (including the couple, excluding vendors and service providers) for the entire event, subject to the venue’s capacity limit based on safe management principles. Participants in a wedding can be split into multiple zones of up to 50 persons each, or split by staggered timings with up to 50 persons in each slot with at least 30 minutes between slots for cleaning and disinfection of the event space. Venue operators may impose a lower cap if they are unable to comply with the zoning or staggered timing requirements.

Hotels holding these events must ensure that the physical set-up and event arrangements are in accordance with the above groupings and other safe management measures. Please refer to the safe management measures which must be strictly adhered to.

Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Tourist Guides

1. Are tours permitted? 

Domestic tour operators and tourist guides can submit their applications to resume operations. Tour operators and tourist guides can submit their application to STB_TID@stb.gov.sg, and may only resume carrying out tour activities after receiving approval from MTI. Please refer to the advisory for tours for the full list of requirements.

The list of approved tour operators and tourist guides can be found here.

2. What are the assistance measures for tourist guides?

Training Allowance for Tourist Guides

Together with the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) announced the NTUC Training Fund on 26 March 2020 to help Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) supplement their income and prepare them to be future-ready through skills upgrading and training. The training allowance of $600 for 80 completed hours of training has been superseded by the NTUC Training Fund. For more information, please refer to NTUC's website. You can also contact NTUC at 6474 0606 or send an email to SEP2020@e2i.com.sg for clarifications.

Test Fees

Test fees for Multi-language Proficiency Test will be waived until 31 December 2021.

Licence Fees

Licence renewal fees will be waived for all tourist guide licences due or paid between 2 February 2020 and 31 December 2020.

COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG)

The CRG provides temporary financial support to workers in lower to middle-income households who experienced involuntary no-pay leave or income loss due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Applications will be open from 18 January 2021. More information can be found at go.gov.sg/crg.

Amendments to Travel Agents Legislation

With effect from 31 December 2020, the following amendments to the Travel Agents Legislation will be extended by one year:

  • The minimum net value requirement for travel agents holding a general licence or niche licence will be reduced by 90% to $10,000 or $5,000 respectively, till 31 December 2021.
  • All travel agents may submit auditor-certified accounts in lieu of audited statement of accounts for financial year ending on or after 1 March 2020, as well as the following financial year. Auditor-certified accounts must be reported in accordance with the Singapore Standard on Review Engagement – SSRE 2400 by an independent auditor.

You can read the full subsidiary legislation here. For more information, please email us at stb_ta@stb.gov.sg.

 

 

EVENTS

Updated as of 28 December 2020

For the full list of FAQs for events, click here.

A: PERMISSIBLE EVENTS

1.    What constitutes a MICE event?

a.    MICE events refer to Business-to-Business (B2B) events such as Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences and Exhibitions. Events that are substantially recreational or social in character, such as company D&Ds, networking events or gala dinners, do not fall within the MICE events contemplated here and are currently not permitted.

b.    On 20 October 2020, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced that work-related events of up to 50 persons will be permitted to be held outside of workplaces/own premises with effect from 22 October 2020. Work-related events include consumer-facing events (such as product launches, marketing / branding events) and work meetings (among colleagues or with external parties), training, board meetings, HR talks, townhalls, seminars, corporate retreats, conferences on business strategies, Annual/Extraordinary General Meetings, tender briefings to vendors and award ceremonies. More details on the MTF’s announcement on 20 October 2020 can be found here . FAQs on the Ministry of Manpower’s Workplace SMMs can be found here.

2.      What events are currently permitted*?

Updated as of 28 December 2020

 

Venues

Event Type

Within workplace/ enterprise’s own premises

Third party venues

(i.e. Venues outside of workplaces/enterprise’s own premises) e.g. function rooms

  • Work-related events
  • In-house training without 3rdparty service provider
  • Training & educational courses by Education Business
  • Up to 50 persons* at any time or the maximum number of individuals which the room or venue may accommodate if there is a distance of at least one metre between any 2 individuals, whichever is lower; and
  • At least 1 metre spacing between individuals at all times


Work-related events

E.g. Conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, Annual General Meetings, Extraordinary General Meetings, tender briefings to vendors, commemorative ceremonies, ground-breaking ceremonies, award and promotion ceremonies. Attendees may include external parties such as business associates, customers as well as members of associations etc.

Trainings

E.g.  Company holding training for employees within the office compound

E.g. Company engaging training provider to conduct training for employees in one of the office meeting rooms/auditorium

E.g. Company engaging training provider to conduct training for employees at a hotel function room

E.g. Company holding training for employees at hotel function room

 

* Excludes premises staff at third party venues

Consumer-facing events

  • Up to the premises’ venue operating capacity, subject to the implementation of safe management measures
  • Up to prevailing group size limit of 8 customers per group
  • At least 1 metre spacing between groups of 8 or fewer customers (prevailing group size) at all times

 

E.g. Product launches, store openings and marketing and branding events at enterprise’s retail premises.

 

  • Up to 50 persons (including all persons and vendors except premises staff) at any time

or

  • The maximum number of individuals the room or venue may accommodate to ensure a distance of at least one metre between any 2 individuals, whichever is lower
  • Up to prevailing group size limit of 8 customers per group
  • At least 1 metre spacing between groups of 8 or fewer customers (prevailing group size) at all times


E.g. Product launches, roadshows fairs, marketing and branding events at hotel function rooms

Roadshows/ fairs are not allowed at public transport nodes, HDB areas, mall atriums, etc. These events are only permitted in hired function centres.


^Please note that the prevailing respective sector specific requirements and Safe Management Measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Performances and Other Activities – Control Order) Regulations 2020 continue to apply.

Workplace events which are substantially recreational or social in nature (such as gala dinners, networking functions, company D&Ds) are currently not permitted.

Eating and drinking should be avoided at permitted events as these activities require masks to be removed which raises the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, if meals are necessary, attendees must be seated and served individually and minimise contact with one another while eating or drinking. Safe distancing also needs to be maintained during the meal. Meal durations should be kept short to minimise the period that individuals are unmasked, and the meal should not be a main feature of the event. Any pre-recorded music, speech or sound played at these events should not exceed 60 decibels in any part of the room or place where food or drinks are served or consumed.  Higher risk activities such as singing, and the playing of wind/brass instruments are also not allowed to resume at corporate/enterprise events.

Please see details on the updated Requirements for Safe Management Measures (SMMs) at the Workplace by the Ministry of Manpower here. Separately, you may find the FAQs on Workplace SMMs here.

 

B: MICE EVENT PILOTS

3.    How can we start organising a MICE event under STB’s MICE event pilots?

a.    The event organisers and event venues (collectively, EOs) may apply with STB to pilot MICE events of up to 250 persons under the Safe Business Events Framework.

b.    EOs must demonstrate the readiness and capabilities to implement the Safe Management Measures (SMMs) required to meet the five outcomes to pilot MICE events in a safe and controlled manner.

c.     STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) will review the submitted event proposal and EOs may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval.

Click for more details on the Safe Business Events Framework.

4.    How do I apply? How long is the application process?

a.    The application form must be jointly completed by both the Event Organiser and Event Venue (collectively, EOs).

b.    Please use the Industry Self Help Checklist to check if your event falls under the purview of STB MICE event pilots by going through the checklist before putting in an application. Industry Self Help Checklist can be found here. We strongly encourage EOs to put in their applications as early as possible (preferably 3 months in advance) to cater sufficient time for planning, registration and marketing. Minimally, EOs should submit their application at least 1 month before the event date.

c.     Each MICE event and its related marketing efforts may be carried out only after receiving approval from STB and MTI.  

d.    Please note that STB and MTI will take up to 14 business days to assess each application.

e.    Please send the completed application form as well as your event proposal to secb@stb.gov.sg.The  application form and details of the  SMMs required under the “expansion of MICE pilot events in Singapore” can be found here.

f.      STB has started accepting applications from 1 October 2020.

 

C: OTHER EVENT RELATED QUERIES

5.  What is the role of the Event Organiser and Event Venue? Who would be penalised in the event of a contravention?

a.     Both the Event Organiser and Event Venue are jointly responsible for the events taking place under their purview. In the event of any contravention, Enforcement Officers will investigate the facts and circumstances leading to the contravention to determine which party is liable, or if both parties are liable.

6.  As a venue operator, can I have multiple events at my venue?

a.    Yes. In the event of multiple concurrent events taking place in the same facility (more than 930sqm), the event venue must ensure that the overall density capacity requirement of at least 8sqm per attendee must be met.

b.    If the overall event facility demarcated for use by events is less than 930sqm, your event venue is not bound by the operating capacity of 8sqm per attendee. Please note that you will need to comply with the Safe Business Events Framework.

The event venue and respective EOs must work out a plan to stagger the movement of attendees within each zone to ensure that attendees of each zone would not be able to intermingle with attendees from other zones.

 

D: FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR MICE EOs

7.  What are some of the financial assistance available for EOs?

i.     Marketing and Visitor Experience

a.    MICE Event Organisers (EO) can tap on the Marketing Partnership Programme (MPP). This programme aims to support MICE EOs in their international marketing initiatives, market and maintain international presence and position Singapore as the choice destination for business events. The programme also supports EOs in their marketing efforts for virtual or hybrid events with the aim of driving international attendance for their next physical event in Singapore.

b.    EOs with new products and experiences which will improve the overall visitor experience and increase the attractiveness of Singapore to visitors can tap on the Experience Step-Up Fund (ESF). Some examples include the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products which showcase Singapore during the conference, contactless technology which enhance delegate experience etc.

ii.    Technology and Innovation

c.    Separately, there is the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) under Enterprise Singapore (ESG) which encourages enterprises to continue digitalisation and productivity upgrading efforts. EOs can refer to the list of supportable solutions and identify relevant solutions that best suit your business needs on the PSG website. Some of the pre-scoped IT solutions and equipment include virtual meeting and telephony tools, temperature screening solutions, video analytics for crowd management, autonomous floor cleaner, fleet management, etc to support local enterprises in their digitalisation and productivity efforts.

d.    If you’re taking this period to rethink your company’s current business models or redesign your work processes to be more efficient, there is the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) which aims to encourage technology innovation and adoption to improve productivity and competitiveness. Companies could also leverage on technologies and customised solutions to make routine tasks more efficient. These could include the development of an integrated e-registration system to serve the needs of your clients, automation of cleaning processes at event venues which integrates Artificial Intelligence (AI) navigation to clean floors without human intervention, or customised hybrid meeting solutions which enable simultaneous broadcast of multiple sessions on a single platform etc.

iii.   Financing Schemes

e.    Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can also consider the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL) and Temporary Bridging Loan Programme under Enterprise Singapore to seek help with working capital and cashflow needs.

Cruise

Singapore has ceased port calls for all cruise vessels. For further information on enhanced measures for cruise lines, please contact MPA Port Operation Control Centre at 62213127 or email the Cruise Division from STB at STB_CRUISE@stb.gov.sg.

1. Should we give refunds to passengers who cancel their cruise bookings because of COVID-19?

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, businesses and individuals who are unable to perform their contractual obligations due on or after 1 February 2020 because of COVID-19, will be given time to work out a solution with the other party without the threat or uncertainty of litigation or legal proceedings.

This provides temporary relief from legal action for up to six months. To claim relief, one party to a contract should serve a notification for relief on the other party.

However, it does not mean that obligations are postponed or are absolved. Parties may still be charged interest or penalties if they delay in performance or fail to perform.

This Bill applies to specific contracts entered into or renewed before 25 March 2020.

For the full list of specific contracts covered under this Bill, or for more information, please refer to the Ministry of Law’s website or STB’s website.

Attractions

1. Are attractions allowed to re-open?

As part of the resumption of activities in Phase 2 after the Circuit Breaker, tourism businesses in Singapore will be permitted to resume operations in stages from 1 July 2020. 

All attractions must submit their re-opening proposals to STB for assessment prior to re-opening, and may resume operations only after receiving approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Attractions should submit their re-opening proposals to STB_Attractions@stb.gov.sg. Please refer to the advisory for attractions for the full list of requirements.

The list of permitted attractions can be found here.

Retail

1. Are retail establishments allowed to re-open?

Most retail establishments have reopened their physical outlets. Large public venues with high human traffic such as malls and standalone retail outlets are subject to capacity limits and operators are required to prevent crowds or long queues from building up within and in the immediate vicinity of their premises.

The list of businesses that are allowed to resume can be found here: https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/permittedlist/. Retail establishments that are permitted to remain open must implement Safe Management Measures, as required by the Ministry of Manpower and comply with the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations. In addition, retail establishments are required to comply with the measures set out here.

Dining

1. Which F&B outlets are allowed to open? 

  • F&B establishments[1] can provide dine-in services, provided there is no provision of Public Entertainment[2] 
  • Sale and consumption of alcohol in all F&B establishments are prohibited after 2230hrs daily. This includes consumption at any outdoor refreshment area and/or tables/chairs [3] owned or managed by such establishment. As a best practice, by around 2200hrs, F&B operators should cease the sale of alcohol as a dine-in service and remind patrons to consume their alcohol by 2230hrs.
  • Live music, radio broadcasts, all forms of television or video screenings [4] are not allowed in all F&B outlets. Recorded music may be played only as soft background music. This must not be louder than 60 decibels. As a gauge, this would be the sound level of a regular conversation.

You can refer to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/permittedlist/ to check if your business may resume. F&B establishments that are permitted to operate must implement Safe Management Measures, as required by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and comply with the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations. In addition, F&B establishments must comply with the measures set out here

[1]These would be F&B establishments that are issued food shop licences by SFA, with the exception of those with SFA food shop licences under the Pubs, Bars, Nightclubs and Discos categories or SSIC codes starting with 5613.

[2] Public Entertainment activities are as per defined under the Public Entertainments Act which includes singing or dancing by customers, darts, karaoke, billiard, pool, snooker and game machines and any machine or device by the manipulation of which chances are given of obtaining prizes in money or kind.  

[3] The furniture should be kept/secured in such manner after close of business. 

[4] Except for advisory videos related to safe management measures. Static images and a carousel of static images on a digital screen (e.g. of menus and promotional items) without sound are not considered to be TV/video screenings.

Entertainment

1. When will entertainment establishments be allowed to re-open?

Cinemas are allowed to reopen but they must adhere to the safe management measures for cinemas.  

Entertainment venues such as bars, nightclubs, discotheques and karaoke outlets are still not allowed to re-open in their original form. However, a limited number of nightlife establishments will be allowed to re-open in a pilot commencing January 2021. There is also assistance to help nightlife establishments in their transition to other activities or to ease their exit. More details can be found here.