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26 May 2020

Cross Sector Questions

 
Gradual Resumption of Business Activities

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

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on 19 May 2020 that Circuit Breaker measures will gradually be eased from 2 June 2020, and businesses will be allowed to resume activities in a phased manner:

  • Phase One (“Safe Re-Opening”)
  • Phase Two (“Safe Transition”)
  • Phase Three (“Safe Nation”)

For details on each of the phases, see MOH’s press release.

2. Which businesses are allowed to resume?

You can refer to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/permittedlist/ to check if your business may resume.

The scheduled resumption of business activities from 2 June is ultimately dependent on the health situation. Should community transmission rise, the Ministry of Trade and Industry will re-evaluate the timeline and the businesses that can resume operations.

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.

Travel Restrictions and Precautionary Measures

1. What are the latest travel restrictions for visitors?

All short-term visitors (from anywhere in the world) are not allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore. Singapore has also ceased port calls for all cruise vessels.

Travel History in Countries/Regions

For Singapore Residents and Long-term Pass Holders

For Short-term Visitors

All countries

14-day SHN

 

All holders of Work Pass (and their dependants), Long-Term Visit Pass, Student’s Pass, as well as those who have been granted In-Principle Approval for Work Pass and Long-Term Pass must obtain approval from MOM/ICA before they commence their journey to Singapore.

Not allowed entry or transit

 

2. Are there exceptions to the entry restrictions?

The following returning groups will be allowed entry but will be issued a SHN, regardless of travel history:

a. Singapore Citizens;

b. Permanent Residents (PRs)

c. Long Term Pass holders

Returnees from all countries are required to serve their SHN in dedicated facilities. Transportation will be arranged to send the returnees directly from the airport to the facilities. Returnees can contact the SHN helpline at +65 6812 5555 for more information.

Returnees will also be required to submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service1, before proceeding with immigration clearance. The SGAC e-service can also be downloaded for free from Apple AppStore and Google Play. All travellers can submit their health declaration up to three days prior to their arrival in Singapore. Those who make false declarations will be liable for prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. For more information on the travel declaration requirements, please refer to MOH's website.

All returnees who disregarded prevailing travel advisories and left Singapore from 27 March 2020, would be required to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

All Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders, as well as those who have been granted In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP), who are planning to enter or return to Singapore must obtain the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) permission before they commence their journey to Singapore. They can do so by submitting their application for entry to ICA_nCoV_request@ica.gov.sg.

All new and existing Work Pass holders (including dependents) have to obtain the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) approval before they commence their journey to Singapore.

The entry approval requirement applies to existing Work Pass holders currently out of Singapore and those who have been granted In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a Work Pass, who have yet to enter Singapore. Employers are required to apply for entry approval using this form facility. For more information, please refer to MOM’s website.

3. Who will be issued a stay-home notice? 

All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents returning to Singapore and Long Term Pass holders who are granted entry approval will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home-Notice (SHN)2.

Returnees from all countries are required to serve their SHN in dedicated facilities. Transportation will be arranged to send the returnees directly from the airport to the facilities. Returnees can contact the SHN helpline at +65 6812 5555 for more information. 

All returnees who disregarded prevailing travel advisories and left Singapore from 27 March 2020, would be required to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

All returning travellers are reminded to monitor their health closely and seek early medical treatment should they develop fever or any respiratory symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

4. Who is required to submit a health declaration?

Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass Holders (work passes, Student’s Pass, Dependent’s Pass and Long-Term Visit Pass) will be required to submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service, before proceeding with immigration clearance. All travellers can submit their health declaration up to three days prior to their arrival in Singapore. Those who make false declarations will be liable for prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. For more information on the travel declaration requirements, please refer to MOH's website.

5. What should businesses do if they have employees who have travelled recently?

Businesses are advised to obtain health and travel declarations from employees on whether they have travelled abroad recently or if they have any upcoming travel plans. Businesses are also advised to defer all travel abroad.

Returnees from all countries are required to serve their SHN in dedicated facilities. Transportation will be arranged to send the returnees directly from the airport to the facilities. Returnees can contact the SHN helpline at +65 6812 5555 for more information.

Returnees will also be required to submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service, before proceeding with immigration clearance. The SGAC e-service can also be downloaded for free from Apple AppStore and Google Play. All travellers can submit their health declaration up to three days prior to their arrival in Singapore. Those who make false declarations will be liable for prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. For more information on the travel declaration requirements, please refer to MOH's website.

All returnees who disregarded prevailing travel advisories and left Singapore from 27 March 2020, would be required to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

All returning travellers are reminded to monitor their health closely and seek early medical treatment should they develop fever or any respiratory symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

Employers and employees must ensure that employees behave responsibly during the SHN. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may take action against the employer or employee if they do not discharge their responsibility. For more details on the precautions that employers and employees can take, please refer to MOM’s guidelines.

6. What should I do if there is no space or spare dormitories within my institution to segregate staff who have returned from countries affected by COVID-19?

Returnees from all countries are required to serve their SHN in dedicated facilities. Transportation will be arranged to send the returnees directly from the airport to the facilities. Returnees can contact the SHN helpline at +65 6812 5555 for more information.

7. What about employees who have family members who returned to Singapore recently?

All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents returning to Singapore and Long Term Pass holders who are granted entry approval will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home-Notice (SHN). The employee may continue living with family members placed on SHN. There is no need for the employee to be placed on SHN. However, employers can advise the employee to reduce interaction and minimise contact with persons placed on SHN. More information can be found here.

Work Passes

1. Can existing work passes be renewed for foreign workers?

Existing work passes can be renewed. Work pass holders3 and their dependents will be allowed to return/enter into Singapore only if they work in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport. Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore during this period, with appropriate accommodation arrangements.

2. Can individuals with in-principle approved work passes, who have travelled abroad within the last 14 days, enter Singapore?

All new and existing Work Pass holders (including dependents) have to obtain the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) approval before they commence their journey to Singapore. The entry approval requirement applies to: existing Work Pass holders currently out of Singapore and those who have been granted In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a Work Pass, who have yet to enter Singapore. Employers are required to apply for entry approval using this form facility. For more information, please refer to MOM’s website.

Protecting our staff and visitors

1. Should frontline staff wear masks?

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

2. Where can we buy masks?

The government is sourcing for new suppliers and ramping up purchases from traditional sellers. Reusable masks should also be considered.

3. What measures should we take to screen visitors?

Employees should look out for customers with respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose, and refer them to the nearest General Practitioner (GP) for medical treatment. For updated advisories and measures on COVID-19, please refer to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

4. 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.

5. Where do I get the latest information on the COVID-19 situation?

For updated advisories and measures on COVID-19, please refer to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

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

Businesses must comply with the requirements for Safe Management Measures seen on https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general (“Safe Management Requirements”) and any sector-specific requirements which apply to them. 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. More information on SafeEntry can be found here. 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.

Businesses should continue to act in a responsible manner, and not plan or organise events that could draw large numbers of employees or customers, such as “welcome back” sales and parties.  

1 The paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card  has been discontinued. When entry for short-term visitors resumes in the future, such travellers will have to provide their arrival and departure information via the SGAC e-Service instead.

2 The SHN will not apply to Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders transiting in Singapore without leaving the transit area.

3 Currently, all work pass holders and their dependents planning to enter/return to Singapore from any country are required to obtain MOM’s approval before they can commence their journey.

Business Costs

1. Will the Government be rolling out support measures for affected businesses?

As the first step in a wider set of measures to help tourism businesses mitigate the impact of COVID-19, licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides have been waived. More information here

Further enhanced measures under the Unity Budget were introduced at Budget 2020.

To complement these measures, further support has been made available as part of the Resilience Budget, Solidarity Budget and Fortitude Budget, to help Singaporeans and businesses tide through the challenges. More information on the Budgets 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.

In addition, 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. The Bill applies to contractual obligations that are to be performed on or after 1 February 2020 and only for contracts that were entered into before 25 March 2020. The provisions in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act commenced on 20 April 2020, and the period of relief will be for six months, from 20 April 2020 to 19 October 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.

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 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 not allowed in Phase One of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s plan to exit the circuit breaker. Establishments that serve food and beverage (including alcoholic beverages) that are permitted to operate must adhere to existing measures applicable to all food and beverage venues. More details on the safe management measures for F&B establishments here.

Travel Agents/Tourist Guides

1. Are there any guidelines for tourist guides conducting tours? 

Organised guided tours, indoors and outdoors, should be deferred or cancelled.

For more details, please refer to STB's advisory on the operationalisation of safe distancing measures for tourism stakeholders.

2. What assistance measures are there 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. 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.

Event Organisers

1. Should I cancel my event?  

All events and mass gatherings (e.g. conferences, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, sporting events, trade fairs) must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size. This includes all social gatherings of any size in both private and public spaces.

2. When will events be allowed to resume?

Social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events would have resumed by Phase Three, although gathering sizes would still have to be limited in order to prevent large clusters from arising.

Cruise

1. How do we handle passengers from countries affected by COVID-19? Can cruise ships which have no travel history to these countries come to Singapore?

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.

2. What happens to affected passengers on a cruise ship that was meant to call in Singapore?

As Singapore has ceased port calls for all cruise vessels, the cruise company will be responsible for handling all alternative arrangements. Cruise companies are encouraged to inform passengers prior to the sailing.

3. Are there enhanced cleaning measures for cruise ships?

Cruise lines are encouraged to ensure that the ship is disinfected for every sailing. You may also refer to the National Environment Agency's (NEA) guidelines on cleaning measures for areas exposed to confirmed case(s) of COVID-19.

4. Should we give refunds to passengers who cancel their cruise bookings because of the virus?

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. How will STB help attractions that are affected by closures and decline in visitorship?

There are assistance measures to help tourism businesses. Find out more here.

Retail

1. Which retail establishments are allowed to open?

Most retail outlets and other personal services will not re-open in Phase One. Retail outlets that provide items and services necessary to support the daily living needs of the population will be allowed to  open. You can refer to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/permittedlist/ to check if your business may resume. Retail establishments that are permitted to remain open must adhere to safe management measures. For more information, refer to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general or  STB’s advisories for retail establishments, and shopping malls and standalone stores.

Dining

1. What are the current measures affecting F&B outlets?

F&B outlets (including restaurants, hawker centres, coffeeshops and food courts) permitted to open are to be open for takeaway and deliveries. Dining in at F&B outlets will continue to be disallowed. F&B outlets that are permitted to remain open must adhere to the safe management measures. For more information, refer to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general or STB's advisory for F&B establishments.

F&B dine-in will gradually be allowed to re-open in Phase Two, subject to safe management measures being implemented and practised by employers and employees in these workplaces and their ability to maintain a safe environment for their customers.

Entertainment

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

Services and activities that involve prolonged close contact (e.g. spas and massages) or significant crowd management risk in an enclosed space (e.g. cinemas, theatres, bars, pubs and nightclubs) would have been allowed to re-open by Phase Three, subject to their ability to implement strict safe management measures effectively.