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23 September 2020

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. 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 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 safe management measures 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 safe management measures. Please refer to the advisory for hotels for the full list of requirements.

For more information on the gradual reopening of tourism establishments, please see STB’s press release.

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 since introduced more measures under the Unity, Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets, 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.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2020/

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.

MOH 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 MOH’s website for more details on the QOA scheme.  

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

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. This will be extended by up to seven months, covering wages paid up to March 2021 providing continued support for businesses and workers. 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?

All short-term visitors will not be allowed to enter Singapore, except for a few cases. Please visit the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority 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 website for the latest health advisory and measures for inbound travellers. The measures for inbound travellers are also summarised here.

3. What are the requirements for travellers seeking to enter Singapore under the Green/Fast Lane arrangements?

Travellers from countries/regions under the Green/Fast Lane arrangements must possess a valid pass in order to travel into Singapore. For more information, please click here.

Brunei Darussalam

Singapore and Brunei Darussalam implemented the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Air Travel Pass (ATP) from 1 September 2020. Both schemes address different groups of cross-border travellers. Eligible applicants for the RGL and ATP will have to abide by the requirements on COVID-19 prevention and control and prevailing public health regulations of the receiving country. More information on the RGL between Singapore and Brunei Darussalam can be found here, while details on ATP between Singapore and Brunei Darussalam can be found here.

China

Singapore and China have agreed to create a fast lane to facilitate essential business and official travel between both countries. The fast lane has been established between six Chinese provinces and municipalities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) and Singapore. The scheme is open to residents in Singapore and China who need to make essential business or official trips between the two countries. The arrangement will be gradually expanded to other Chinese provinces and municipalities.

For inbound travel to Singapore, business or official travellers sponsored by government agencies may submit applications through their respective sponsors. Applications for company-sponsored travellers can be submitted in a later phase. Fast lane travellers have to adhere to the key arrangements in place. Full details here.

Japan

Singapore and Japan have agreed on RGL or Business Track arrangements to facilitate essential business and official travel between both countries. This arrangement will allow the safe resumption of cross-border travel and business exchanges with the necessary public health safeguards in place. More information can be found here.

Malaysia

Singapore and Malaysia have implemented the RGL and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA). Eligible travellers will have to abide by the prevailing COVID-19 prevention and public health measures mutually agreed upon by both countries. More information on the requirements, health protocols and application process for the RGL can be found here, while the details on the PCA can be found here.

New Zealand

Foreign visitors from New Zealand can apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP), from 1 September 2020, 1200hrs (Singapore time), for entry into Singapore on or after 8 September 2020. Visitors can apply for the single-entry ATP at no charge at https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg, and must do so between 7 and 30 calendar days prior to their intended date of entry into Singapore. More information on the requirements, health protocols and conditions of travel can be found here.

Republic of Korea

Singapore and the Republic of Korea have agreed on a fast lane between the two countries for essential and official travel. Eligible fast lane travellers will have to abide by the requirements on COVID-19 prevention and control, prevailing public health regulations and other such requirements of the receiving country. More information can be found here.

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?

In Phase 2, most activities will be 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 five persons, and with no mixing of groups. Other safe management measures should also be in place.

Businesses must also comply with the Safe Management Measures outlined in 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 1 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 Two 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 (MOM) 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.

Bars and nightclubs can only resume operations at a later date. Live music and television and video screenings are also not allowed.

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 and Area Tourist Guide will be waived until 31 Dec 2020.

Licence Fees

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

Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)

Self-employed person who also earn a small income from employment work will qualify for SIRS. Details on the enhanced SIRS introduced under the Solidarity Budget here.

Amendments to Travel Agents Legislation

With effect from 9 April 2020, the following amendments have been made to the Travel Agents Legislation:

  • 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, for the period of 8 Apr 2020 to 31 Dec 2020 (both dates inclusive).
  • All travel agents may submit auditor-certified accounts in lieu of audited statement of accounts for financial years ending on or after 1 March 2020. 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 supplement here. For more information, please refer to the TRUST bulletin board (you will be required to log in) or email us at stb_ta@stb.gov.sg.

Business Events

1. What constitutes a MICE event?

a.  For the purpose of the expansion of MICE pilot events announced on 7 September 2020, MICE events exclude work-related events targeted at internal audience including employees such as internal conferences and seminars, corporate retreats, Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs). The announcement on MICE pilot events can be found here.

b.  STB will not be able to accept applications for work-related events targeted at internal audiences such as employees as well as other events which are predominantly social in nature.

2.  How can we start organising a MICE event?

a.  Event Organisers and Event Venues (collectively, EOs) must submit a joint application, including an event proposal to STB. STB and MTI will review each MICE event proposal, and the EOs may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval.

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. More details on the five outcomes can be found here.

3.  How do I apply?

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

b.  Please use the eligibility checker 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.

c.  More details on the SMMs can be found here.

d.  Application form can be downloaded here.

e.  Please send the completed application form with all supporting documents to secb@stb.gov.sgat least 1 month before the event date. Please note that STB and MTI will take up to 14 business days to assess each application. As such, EOs are encouraged to put in their applications as early as possible to cater sufficient time for planning, registration and marketing.

4.  Can I apply for my event (up to 250 pax) which is scheduled for the later part of the year (Dec 2020 onwards) to resume? I would need to start event planning, production and marketing.

a.  Yes. Event Organisers and Event Venues (collectively, EOs) must submit their application and event proposal at least 1 month prior to the commencement of each MICE event. STB and MTI will take up to 14 business days to assess each application. As such, EOs are encouraged to put in their applications as early as possible to cater sufficient time for planning, registration and marketing.

b.  Please note that STB will start accepting applications from 1 October 2020.

5.  What is the role of the Event Organiser and Event Venue? Who would be penalised if Safe Management Measures (SMMs) are contravened?

a.  Both the Event Organiser and Event Venue are jointly responsible for the events taking place under their purview. If SMMs are contravened, Enforcement Officers will investigate the facts and circumstances to determine which party is liable, or if both parties are liable.

6.  Can media content productions, filming, livestream or broadcast events take place in venues? Does my venue need to seek approval from Government to accept this booking?

a.  For companies involved in the production of programmes for broadcast and other digital media, such as TV commercials, short narratives, documentaries, feature films and those requiring a large crew: no more than 50 personnel on location are allowed. No more than 20 onscreen talent/performers should be unmasked, at any given time.  These companies are to register with IMDA. No live singing is allowed at this production size. 

b.  For companies involved in all other productions: no more than 30 personnel on location, including no more than 10 onscreen talent/performers unmasked at any given time.

c.  For “live” singing as part of the production, all productions must adhere to no more than 30 personnel on location, including no more than 5 onscreen talent/performers singing unmasked at any given time. All personnel must observe a 2-metre safe distancing from the next person.

d.  Unmasking dispensations are to be kept strictly to the fixed cast of onscreen talent/performers (not interchangeable with other non-onscreen performing roles) for the entire production.

e.  Please refer to IMDA guidelines on the requirements: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-industry/sectors/Media/Film/Filming-in-Singapore.

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. 

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 (MTI). 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?

For Phase 2:

  • Standalone F&B establishments predominantly selling beverages can resume operations
  • F&B establishments[1] can provide dine-in services, provided there is no provision of Public Entertainment[2]
  • Sales and consumption of alcohol in all F&B establishments is prohibited after 2230 hours. This includes consumption at any outdoor refreshment area (ORA) and/or tables/chairs owned or managed by such establishment[3].

However, live music and television and video screenings are not allowed in all F&B outlets.

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.

[2] Public Entertainment activities are as per defined under the Public Entertainments Act.

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

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, karaoke outlets and theatres are still not allowed to reopen due to safe management considerations. The Government will help these businesses transition to other activities or ease their exit. More details will be provided by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.