TOP

13 December 2021

 

Cross Sector Questions

Gradual Resumption of Business Activities

1. What are the plans for the resumption of business activities? What are the latest measures for tourism businesses?

Businesses have resumed activities in a phased manner.

As Singapore transits towards COVID resilience, Safe Management Measures (SMMs) will continue to be adjusted when necessary.

Attractions, hotels and tours must continue to adhere to the measures set out in the circulars below:

Attractions :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-attractions.html#Attractions/

Hotels :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-hotels.html#Hotels/

Tours :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-tours.html#Tours/

MICE Event Organisers and venues (collectively, EOs) who wish to submit a joint application and event proposal for STB’s assessment must adhere to the latest SMMs set out in the circular below:

MICE :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-MICE.html#MICE/

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.

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.

 

Support for COVID-19

1. What assistance measures are there for tourism businesses?

Support has been extended by the Government to help workers and businesses, including the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme for affected sectors such as tourism, as well as rental relief. More information can be found here.

STB has also been working closely with the industry to pilot new tourism products and experiences to drive domestic demand, and prepare for international recovery.

For other measures that have been implemented to help tourism businesses since February 2020, 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 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.

 

Travel Restrictions and Precautionary Measures

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

Singapore is re-opening its borders to facilitate the resumption of international travel in a calibrated manner, with the necessary safeguards in place to ensure the health and well-being of our community and foreign visitors. Singapore has introduced the Air Travel Pass and the Vaccinated Travel Laneto facilitate short-term visits into Singapore. We are also continuously trialling health protocols to facilitate travel for those attending selected MICE events in Singapore. Please visit the SafeTravel website for the latest updates on the arrangements for travellers from different countries/territories, and the Ministry of Health’s website for the latest health advisory and measures for inbound travellers.

[1] The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) allows vaccinated travellers from approved countries who are short-term visitors (including business and official travellers), or holders of Long-Term Passes (i.e. Long-Term Visit Pass, Student’s Pass, Work Pass or Dependant’s Pass), to seek entry into Singapore. Please visit https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/vtl/requirements-and-process for more information on the VTL.

All travellers (including Singapore Citizens  and Permanent Residents) will need to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore and comply with any SHN requirements.

 

Protecting our staff and visitors

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

Businesses must ensure that their establishments, staff and customers comply with all necessary safe management measures (SMMs) that apply to them. For more information, visit https://www.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general/.

As part of the national effort to step up regular testing, companies are strongly encouraged to regularly test their employees who work on-site, but are not already on any form of mandatory Rostered Routine Testing (RRT). This will enable us to detect and ringfence cases, to keep the community safe.

Companies with employees that work onsite and are not already subject to mandatory RRT, may voluntarily apply for 8 ART kits per onsite employee for weekly testing of their staff over a two-month period. Employees include full-time and part-time employees, and students on long-term (at least 2 months) placement or internship.  To apply, please note that your company would need to have a valid CorpPass login to submit your application via https://go.gov.sg/time-limited-rrt-art-kits-application. For more information on the eligibility of the ART Kits, please visit https://www.gobusiness.gov.sg/timelimitedrrt/. You may also follow the step-by-step instructions available here.

For more information on tourism-related SMMs please visit:

Attractions :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-attractions.html#Attractions/

Hotels and Hostels :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-hotels.html#Hotels/

Tours :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-tours.html#Tours/

Retail establishments :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-retail-establishments.html#Retail/

F&B establishments :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-food-and-beverage-establishments.html#F&B/

MICE :- https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-MICE.html#MICE/

Businesses should also refer to https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safe-management-measures for measures to ensure safe workplaces. 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.

Companies may wish to adopt additional recommended SMMs, on top of existing workplace SMMs, to better safeguard the health of their employees and customers. These include:

·       Placing employees working in higher-risk settings on regular tests using fast and easy tests (FETs) such as the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) [1]

·       Proactively managing potential COVID-19 cases at the workplace

·       Enforcing mask discipline for all employees and patrons [2]

·       Ventilating the workplace and maximising fresh air intake where possible [3]

·       Encouraging all workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible

As part of the suite of measures to reduce transmission during activities where masks are not worn [4], all staff who work at settings with unmasked clients/patrons will be placed on an FET regime, using tests such as ART, regardless of their vaccination status. These include staff of:

·       Dine-in F&B establishments

·       Personal care and appearance services that require removal of masks (e.g. facial services, saunas, make-up services)

·       Gyms and fitness studios where clients are unmasked

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. Businesses and organisations found to be flouting safe management principles may be required to close.

[1] Please visit HSA’s website for the list of COVID-19 antigen rapid tests (ART) self-test kits authorised for use in Singapore: https://www.hsa.gov.sg/consumer-safety/articles/covid19_ARTselftests

[2] For more information on masks, you may refer to Health Science Authority’s (HSA) article entitled “What you need to know about Masks”

[3] Please refer to the guidance note for detailed technical recommendations for premises according to the type of ventilation systems used  https://www1.bca.gov.sg/docs/default-source/docs-corp-news-and-publications/circulars/guidance-note-on-improving-ventilation-and-indoor-air-quality-in-buildings.pdf

[4] https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/maintaining-heightened-alert-to-minimise-risk-of-transmission-as-we-re-open-safely

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

Should a customer have COVID-19 symptoms, please refer them to the nearest Swab And Send Home (SASH) clinic for a doctor to assess and advise them on their next steps.

If a customer tests positive, contact tracing will take place and establishments must follow their SMM protocols.


4. Can I accept travellers who received their vaccinations abroad, and none of them are those used in SG? How will I know if they’re approved by Singapore?

Tourism businesses that need to check the vaccination status of visitors can do so in the following ways:

·       The verified vaccination status in the TraceTogether app

·       A valid pre-event test with a negative result. This pre-event test must be conducted by a MOH-approved test provider in the past 24 hours, covering the duration of the stipulated activity.

·       A valid Vaccination Travel Pass for VTL travellers 

Businesses should also ensure that these travellers have the TraceTogether app installed on their mobile phones for SafeEntry purposes. 

 

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. How can hotels apply to resume leisure bookings or staycations?

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

Hotels must submit their application to STB for assessment. 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.

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

Marriage solemnisations in external venues such as hotels may take place with up to 1,000 attendees (including the wedding couple but excluding solemnisers and vendors) if all attendees are fully vaccinated[1]. Otherwise, only up to 50 attendees will be allowed without Pre-Event Testing (PET). Wedding receptions will be allowed for up to 250 attendees in group sizes of up to 5 persons per table if all attendees are vaccinated.

Organisers of solemnisations and wedding receptions should ensure that pre-event testing requirements are met for such events. PET for all events, including solemnisations and receptions, will not be funded by the government; organisers or individuals are responsible for paying for their own tests. Refer here for more information.

Please refer to MOH’s guidelines at moh.gov.sg/covid-19/pet for more information on pre-event testing.

All marriage solemnisations and wedding receptions will continue to be subject to the prevailing safe management measures, such as zonal/ time slot requirements, group size limit and safe distancing rules.

[1] An individual is considered fully-vaccinated if he/she has been: a)fully vaccinated, i.e. has received the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnatry, Moderna or WHO EUL vaccines, with an additional two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, b) recovered from COVID-19, or c)has obtained a negative result on a pre-event test taken in the past 24 hours before the expected end of the event.

Unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below may be included within the group of 5 persons as long as all the children are from the same household.

Refer to https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/preparing-for-our-transition-towards-covid-resilience for more details.

 

Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Tourist Guides

1. How can tour operators or tourist guides apply to resume operations? 

Domestic tour operators and tourist guides can submit their applications to resume operations to STB_TID@stb.gov.sg. They may only resume 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 the 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 2021.

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. 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 30 December 2021

For the full list of MICE FAQs, please click here.

What are the latest changes to the SMMs for MICE event pilots?

IMPORTANT

1.     On 14 December, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced additional measures to prepare for a potential surge of Omicron cases in our community. In line with this, the Singapore Tourism Board (“STB”) has updated the Safe Management Measures (SMMs) applicable to MICE events.

2.     The information in this circular (which includes its annexes) supersedes that in previous advisories or statements.

From 1 January 2022:

S/N

Type of event session 

Event size limit

 

1

Participants are predominantly seated or standing in a fixed position during the session.

Examples: Meetings, conferences, and conventions

 

Up to 1,000 fully vaccinated participants (as defined in footnote*) at a time, per session

Zones of up to 100 participants

2

Participants are predominantly non-seated and moving about during the session.

Example: Exhibitions, networking sessions

 

Up to 500 fully vaccinated* participants at a time, per session

Zones of up to 100 participants

 

·       All recovered persons from COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated will be given a 180-day exemption (reduced from 270 days) after infection to enter settings where vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS) are implemented. The 180-day period starts from the day of the first positive SAR-CoV-2 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, obtained in Singapore.

·       The concession for unvaccinated individuals to perform a pre-event test (PET) in lieu of being fully vaccinated will be removed.

·       Hence, only fully-vaccinated individuals and recovered persons who are still under 180-day exemption will be allowed to attend MICE events.

 

*An individual is considered fully vaccinated if he/ she has been (a) fully vaccinated, i.e. has received the full regimen of a WHO EUL vaccine, with an additional two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, or (b) within the 180-day exemption period after recovery from COVID-19.

 

A: PERMISSIBLE EVENTS

1.     What constitutes a MICE event?

a.     MICE events refer to business-oriented events such as meetings, conferences and exhibitions arranged or held in the course of business[1] with more than 50 participants which are not held for individual consumers to attend. MICE events with 50 participants or less do not require MTI’s approval. Permitted enterprises may proceed to organise the event and adhere to the Safe Management Measures (SMMs) at the Workplace by the Ministry of Manpower. Events that are substantially social, recreational, political or religious in character, such as company D&Ds, networking events or gala dinners, do not fall within the MICE events contemplated here.

Up to 50 participants^ at a time

51 to 500/1,000 participants at a time

Safe distancing of at least 1 metre between individuals at all times

Up to 100 pax per zone

Safe distancing of at least 1 metre between individuals at all times

Adhere to Safe Management Measures (SMMs) at the Workplace by the Ministry of Manpower here.

MICE event application is not required.

^includes Event Organisers but excludes premises staff at third party venues

Both the Event Organiser and Event Venue (collectively, EOs) must submit an application for STB’s assessment and for the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to approve the EO carrying out the event.

An individual must be:

a) fully vaccinated, i.e. has received the full regimen of a WHO EUL vaccine, with an additional two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective; or

b) within the 180-day exemption period after recovery from COVID-19.

Pre-Event Testing (PET) is required for all participants who are on a Controlled Itinerary.

b.     All MICE event applications with more than 50 participants must be submitted to STB for approval by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).  EOs must demonstrate their ability to implement the rigorous Safe Management Measures (SMMs) under STB’s Safe Business Events (SBE) framework[1].

c.     Work-related events also do not fall within the MICE events contemplated here. These 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, Annual/Extraordinary General Meetings, tender briefings to vendors and award ceremonies. Please refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s Workplace SMMs here and FAQs here for more details.

 

[1] (a) to discuss or negotiate matters relating to trade, commerce or finance, professional practice or matters, health, arts, science, technology, industry, economics, industrial relations, security, international affairs, the environment or any other cause or matter, whether or not of a similar kind; (b) to temporarily exhibit or display goods of any kind for the purposes of sale or supply; or (c) to promote the trading of goods or the provision of services. 

[1] Under STB’s Safe Business Events framework introduced in July 2020 for events of up to 50 participants, EOs must achieve five key outcomes. The framework was created in consultation with the industry and is aligned with international best practices. More information here.  

 

B: MICE EVENT PILOTS

2.       How can we start organising a MICE event?

a.       For MICE events of up to 500/1,000 participants[3] under the STB Safe Business Events Framework, Event Organisers and Event Venues (collectively, EOs) must submit a joint application, including an event proposal to STB.

b.       EOs must demonstrate their 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 written approval.

 

STB MICE Event

Adherence to Safe Business Events (SBE) Framework

Location

Third Party Venues

(e.g. External venues such as function rooms in hotels or convention centres, or attractions)

Event Type

Meetings, Conferences, Exhibitions

·       Not consumer facing (B2C) (e.g. roadshows, product launches, fairs, marketing and branding events etc.)

·       Not predominantly social in nature

·       Not predominantly internal facing (e.g. attended by employees only)

 

Examples

A business-oriented event attended by professionals or business entities to exchange knowledge or to discuss a particular subject, a trade association convening for an education session or panel discussion etc.

Safe Management Measures (SMMs)

 Comply with STB’s Safe Business Events (SBE) Framework

 

Zone

·       Limited to ≤ 100 pax per zone

[3] Participants of the event include attendees, exhibitors, media attending the event, speakers, participants’ liaison officers, etc. EO staff who are also participating in the event (e.g. as speakers, audience members, etc) are included in the total operating capacity. All other EO staff and external service providers are excluded. All participants must be a) fully vaccinated (i.e. has received two doses of a WHO EUL vaccines, with an additional two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective), or b) within the 180-day exemption period after recovery from COVID-19

3.         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.     We strongly encourage EOs to submit 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.

4.         Are meals allowed at MICE events?

a.    Yes. However, meal durations should be kept short, and the meal should not be the main feature of the event. As a guide, Event Organisers should keep breakfast/tea-break duration to 30 minutes and lunch/dinner duration to 60 minutes, as a best practice.

 

Cruise

Can I make a berth booking? If a cruise line has secured a berth booking at MBCCS/SCC and/or have started selling tickets for sailing, would this mean that the above-mentioned cruise line can now resume sailings in Singapore? [AMS(1]

·       Cruise lines interested o call in Singapore may approach cruise terminal operators for to apply for a berth.

·       Obtaining a berth booking does not constitute approval to sail. We understand the cruise lines need to secure berths to plan their fleet deployment, and hence have allowed bookings based on our Berthing Framework.

·       In line with the safe and gradual resumption of other economic activities in Singapore, a phased approach has been adopted for cruise sailings. STB will monitor the situation before deciding on the next steps.

For further information, please contact the Cruise Division from STB at STB_CRUISE@stb.gov.sg.

 
Attractions

1. How can attractions apply to reopen?

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? 

Dining-in at F&B establishments (including hawker centres and coffee shops) will be capped at 5 fully vaccinated persons per group. Unvaccinated individuals can dine-in with a valid negative PET result. From 1 December, unvaccinated persons who are medically ineligible may also be included in the groups of 5 persons.

Dining-in at hawker centres and coffee shops will be allowed for groups of up to 5 vaccinated individuals where Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Measures (VDS) have been implemented. Otherwise, the number of persons allowed to dine-in at hawker centres and coffee shops remained capped at 2 fully vaccinated persons. Unvaccinated persons are not allowed to dine-in.

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

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.