Over the weekend, various Singaporean agencies have released a number of COVID-19 related updates. They include travel updates and more guidelines on the reopening of more businesses in the entertainment and tourism sectors.

At the same time, more than 16,000 job opportunities were recently availed to Singaporeans at the inaugural SGUnited Jobs and Skills Fair at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.

Jump straight to each update:

Call between Singaporean and Indonesian ministers did not go into specifics about tourism

With countries across ASEAN slowly re-opening their borders, many are wondering when Singapore will restart tourism with Indonesia.

In response to media queries on the resumption of tourism to Indonesia, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “On 2 July 2020, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan received a phone call from Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan conveying his well wishes, while the latter was on a visit to Batam and Bintan. Both Ministers agreed on the importance of keeping up positive bilateral cooperation even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The call did not go into any specific discussions on tourism exchanges and cooperation. Singapore is gradually re-opening our borders in a progressive and calibrated manner, while ensuring the health and safety of Singaporeans and our international visitors. Presently, Singaporeans are still advised to defer all travel abroad.”

ALSO READ: All you need to know as ASEAN opens up to travel post-COVID-19

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Cinemas in Singapore are allowed to reopen from 13 July 2020

Moviegoers rejoice! Cinemas in Singapore will be allowed to reopen starting 13 July 2020 as long as they adhere to a set of Mandatory Safe Management Measures for Cinemas.

In a statement, Howie Lau, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Media & Innovation), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said that the IMDA and Singapore Film Commission (SFC) have assessed that the Mandatory Safe Management Measures for Cinemas meets the necessary precautionary measures for managing the COVID-19 related risks in cinemas.

The Mandatory Safe Management Measures for Cinemas are a result of consultation with key industry stakeholders. They include: 

  • Social distancing and configuring seats to ensure safe distancing of at least 1-metre between patrons (a maximum of 5 people are allowed to sit together).
  • Placing a capacity limit of a maximum of 50 patrons per theatre hall.
  • Encouraging the use of automated ticketing machines, cashless or contactless payment.
  • All staff are to monitor their health, wear masks and wash their hands frequently.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting of high touch point areas (counters, toilets, door handles, etc.) and additional cleaning time between movies.
  • Compulsory check-in and check-out using the SafeEntry QR code.
  • All patrons to go through mandatory temperature checks before entry into the mall or cinema. Staff have the right to deny entry to any patron with a temperature of 37.5°C or higher.

ALSO READ: Singapore enters Phase Two of reopening: Here's all you need to know

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More than 16,000 job opportunities made available to Singaporeans at the inaugural SGUnited Jobs and Skills Fair

Last Friday (3 July), more than 16,000 jobs, traineeship and training places across the public and private sectors were availed to Singaporeans at the inaugural SGUnited Jobs and Skills Fair at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.

According to a media statement, the Fair is meant to be the first step towards providing every jobseeker with three keys to open up doors to jobs, traineeships and skills training opportunities.

Opportunities available at the Fair organised by Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Public Service Division (PSD), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) included:

  • Almost 7,000 job vacancies from the public and private sectors for fresh graduates and mid-careerists. Jobseekers had the opportunity to meet prospective employers in person and virtually. About 70 companies across the Manufacturing, F&B, Logistics, Healthcare, Retail and ICT sectors participated in the Fair.
  • Close to 3,000 traineeship positions in over 300 organisations under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, through a Virtual Career Fair that is taking place till 12 July.
  • More than 6,000 training opportunities with training providers such as NTUC LearningHub, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic under the SGUnited Skills Programme for mid-career individuals.

The Fair supplements the over 12,000 job placements that have been completed so far through the SGUnited Jobs initiative. Close to 70% of these placements were in the public sector, including COVID-19-related, healthcare and digital positions.

Apart from attending the Fair, jobseekers in Singapore can also visit on SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres located in all 24 HDB towns, the existing network of career services centres operated by WSG, NTUC’s e2i and WSG-appointed career matching partners, as well as roving Careers Connect On-the-Go (CCOTG).

New SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme to provide an additional 14,500 opportunities

Also in the works is a new SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme for mid-career individuals which will provide an additional 14,500 traineeships and training programmes. This initiative aims to help mid-career individuals to gain meaningful industry-relevant experience as a step towards permanent jobs.

Mid-career individuals who take on traineeships under this programme will receive a monthly training allowance of up to $3,000 per month. Government will co-fund 80% of the training allowance, with the host organisation funding the remainder.

n addition, mid-career individuals looking to enter the growth area of the Robotics and Automation industry could also sign up for the positions for Robotics Engineers administered by RACE Academy.

Under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme, PMET jobseekers may also take on full-time training delivered by market-leading and reputable companies in selected sectors.

More information on the application details for both jobseekers and employers offering opportunities will be announced at a later date.

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New set of Safe Management Measures specifically for hotels

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and Ministry of Health (MOH) have drawn up a new set of Safe Management Measures (SMMs) specifically for hotels.

According to an update by the STB, Hotels, including Migrant Worker Decant Hotels (MWD), Stay-Home-Notice Dedicated Facilities (SDFs), Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs), and Swab Isolation Facilities (SIFs) must comply with the latest requirements for SMMs found in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. The information in this advisory supersedes that in previous advisories or statements.

As of 19 June 2020, the following activities were allowed to resume:

  • Dine-in services for F&B establishments, F&B establishments must adhere to ESG’s latest advisory on SMMs for F&B establishments.
  • Gyms and pools, subject to adherence to the Sport Singapore’s (“Sports SG”) latest measures on SMMs for sports facilities.
  • Spas, subject to adherence to ESG’s latest advisory on SMMs for retail establishments.
  • Gatherings of 5 or fewer persons[2], subject to adherence to mandatory SMMs in this advisory.
  • Marriage solemnisations of ≤ 20 pax and 1 solemniser[3] for each solemnisation, subject to adherence to mandatory SMMs in this advisory.
  • Classes organised by a permitted enterprise providing an education service e.g., Training and professional development of ≤ 50 pax including the trainer[4], subject to adherence to mandatory SMMs in this advisory.

Hotels may also apply to STB to re-open recreation areas for children (e.g., Kids’ Club), and provide accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure (e.g., staycations).

Hotels must submit to an inspection scheduled and conducted by STB as part of the assessment process. The applications can be submitted via go.gov.sg/localbookingapplication and STB and MTI will take up to 14 days to assess each application.

In the application, hotels must address key outcomes to reduce potential transmission risks and support contact tracing efforts. Risk factors for hotels to consider include proximity between guests, propensity for crowds to form, level of activity and number of high-touch surfaces.

Hotels that wish to apply to resume these activities must comply with these SMMs. They include: 

  • Screening every individual (including each guest, visitor, delivery personnel, contractor and staff) for symptoms3 before allowing him or her to enter the hotel premises and before he or she enters each guest facility, including F&B establishments.
  • Refusing entry to any individual that refuses to comply with or fails the screening under para.(a), or if a visitor is subject to a quarantine order or stay-home-notice.
  • Providing a mask to any guest or visitor who displays a symptom under para.(a) and requiring the guest or visitor to wear the mask (whether or not detected at screening), isolate the unwell guest or visitor from others in a room away from other guests, provide surgical masks, provide or cause the provision of medical treatment.
  • Implementing SafeEntry for entry and exit information of every individual (including each guest, visitor, delivery personnel, contractor and staff) entering or leaving the hotel.

The full list of SMMs can be found here.

Each hotel’s application must show how the hotel will achieve all the following key outcomes:

  1. Ability to meet density requirements
    • Limit occupancy to no more than 1 person per 10sqm guest-accessible public space per person (excluding hotel staff) at any point in time
    • Implement more stringent safe management measures at areas where guests and staff spend more time, as opposed to areas which see more transient traffic
  2. Reduce face-to-face mingling among guests, between employees and between staff and guests
    • Stagger timings for guests to be at hotel lobby and guest facilities, and employees at back of house work environment
  3. Ability to disperse crowds and prevent bunching
  4. Mandatory implementation of SafeEntry and encourage use of Trace Together
  5. Implement rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regimes, particularly for high touch elements

Hotels whose applications are approved must do the following: 

  • Submit a set of required data every Monday before 2pm. Submissions are to be made at go.gov.sg/covid19-hotelupdates. Information collected will be used only as internal reference for public policy purposes, and will not be shared with other hotels; and
  • Inform STB whenever there is a positive COVID-19 case at the Hotel. Submissions are to be made at go.gov.sg/covid19-positivecasehotelupdate.

Hotels are also required to submit via covid.gobusiness.gov.sg the number of workers who are working on-site within 2 weeks of the date of resumption of on-site operations for staycation following approval from MTI.

Overview of business activities allowed to resume in hotels currently serving as MWDs, SDFs, GQFs, and SIFs, subject to approval

Hotels that are currently serving as MWDs, SDFs, GQFs, and SIFs can resume the following business activities subject to assessment and approval by the relevant authorities.

  • F&B Dine-in, takeaway, delivery; and Ballrooms/ Function rooms/ other amenities (Spa/ Gym/ Swimming pool etc.)
    • These business activities are subject to assessment and approval by the relevant authorities.
    • Hotels to submit requests and the following plans to the respective officer from SLA that the hotel has been liaising with physical premise segregation and security plans, as well as other safe management measures to provide a safe environment for customers and workers
  • Kids’ Club; and Providing accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure (e.g., staycations)
    • Subject to STB’s assessment and MTI’s approval of application.

Stricter enforcement of SMMs

Government agencies will also be stepping up enforcement to ensure that businesses comply with the required SMMs.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to S$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders may face a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both.

Further, other levers under the Act, such as closure of the premises, may be used against hotels that are found to be non-compliant.

Businesses that do not comply with the government’s safe distancing advisories may also be ineligible for government grants, loans, tax rebates and other assistance.

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