Table of Contents
- Who can enter Singapore?
- Flying into Singapore: Safety at Changi Airport
- Look out for the SG Clean quality mark
- Around the island: General health and safety measures
- COVID-19 safety at popular attractions
COVID-19 has transformed travel as we know it. With borders around the world still closed and many of us taking a cautious approach to travel, taking a flight overseas can be a tricky affair. Thankfully, in direct response to the pandemic, a growing number of countries have been making big changes to entry conditions and safety procedures. Singapore is one such example. While the country slowly settles into a state of normalcy amidst new safety regulations, it is also slowly reopening its borders to certain travelers. It may not be long before tourists are able to make a proper trip to the glittering city-state. Here, we seek to answer the important question: Is it safe to travel to Singapore right now? Read on to find out what the Southeast Asian country is doing to make everyone feel comfortable in light of the pandemic.
Who can enter Singapore?
While short-term holidaymakers are currently not allowed into Singapore, pre-approved travelers coming from a select few countries under Green and Fast Lane arrangements or via an Air Travel Pass may enter the country. These can be applied for via the SafeTravel portal.
Visitors from China
Visitors traveling from China can enter Singapore for essential visits if they meet the Singapore-China Fast Lane requirements. This scheme is applicable to residents in China and Singapore who need to travel between the two countries for essential business or official trips, and is established between six regions in China and Singapore. These regions are Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Zhejiang. Travelers must lodge an application for Fast Lane travel, and will need to be sponsored by a company or by a Singapore Government agency to meet requirements.
Visitors from Malaysia
Malaysia and Singapore have implemented the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) and the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL). Under the PCA, residents of Malaysia who hold a long-term immigration pass for work purposes may enter Singapore for work reasons. Under the RGL, cross-border travel is granted for essential business and official purposes.
Visitors from Brunei and New Zealand
Starting this month, travelers from Brunei and New Zealand may apply for a single-entry Air Travel Pass (ATP) for travel from September 8, 2020 onwards at no charge. Applications must be made between seven and thirty days prior to the date of entry into Singapore. ATP holders will need to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
Flying into Singapore: Safety at Changi Airport
Ready to fly? To ensure smooth air travel on your journey, it’s worth taking note of additional protocols implemented at Singapore Changi Airport.
Screening of all inbound passengers: Passengers on all arrival flights are subject to non-invasive temperature screening procedures at aerobridges to identify unwell passengers. Travelers who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will be attended to by a doctor on duty and may be conveyed to a hospital for a follow-up.
Singapore Changi Airport has gone the extra mile to ensure all visitors feel safe and comfortable. In addition to installing 1,200 hand sanitizers across the airport and deploying carpet cleaning robots armed with disinfectant, many innovative features have also been implemented, including:
- UV-C lights that sanitize escalator handrails
- Proximity sensors at check-in kiosks that eliminate the need for physical contact with touchscreens
- Upgraded facial and iris recognition biometric systems at auto-clearance immigration lanes that eliminate fingerprint scanning
- Protective long-lasting antimicrobial coating sprayed onto frequently-touched surfaces such as trolleys, security trays, and lift buttons
While moving around Singapore Changi Airport, travelers should follow these guidelines:
- Wear a face mask at all times
- Observe safe social distancing and adhere to markings on the floors when queuing
- Adhere to alternating seating arrangements marked out at restaurants, lounges, and boarding gate seating areas
Look out for the SG Clean quality mark
Singapore rolled out its SG Clean certification to raise hygiene standards and transform cleanliness levels of accessible public spaces. Awarded to businesses and agencies across the island, the certification and its quality mark will help patrons identify establishments that have adopted good sanitation and hygiene practices. Within the first month of the campaign, more than 5,000 premises were certified. From hawker centers to shopping malls, airline lounges to hotels, be sure to look out for the mark wherever you go. Click here for a list of all certified premises in Singapore.
Around the island: General health and safety measures
These general health and safety rules should be followed while moving around in public spaces:
- Face masks are mandatory when you visit all public areas, including shopping malls, retail shops, food establishments, parks, tourist attractions, and on trains and buses
- You do not have to wear a mask while doing strenuous physical activities such as running, jogging, and cycling
- There are gathering limits in place — groups are capped at a maximum of 5 people
- Social distancing of at least 1 meter must be observed
SafeEntry QR Code: Check-in at malls, shops, and food establishments
All visitors who enter venues around the island are encouraged to check-in via the SafeEntry national digital check-in system to allow for effective contact tracing. You can do this by scanning the QR codes at the entrances of establishments. Remember to check-out once you leave the premises.
Transportation — trains, buses, and ride-hailing services
Trains, buses, taxis, and ride-hailing services such as Grab and Gojek remain operational with increased health and safety measures. Public transport operators SMRT and SBS Transit have ramped up cleaning efforts to ensure all vehicles and high-touch surfaces are cleaned at a higher frequency. Visitors entering MRT stations are encouraged to check-in via the SafeEntry system before hopping on a train.
Hotels and resorts
Accommodation options are plentiful in Singapore, from relaxing resorts close to Sentosa’s beaches to luxury hotels in the heart of town. Many providers have already reopened for staycations, taking care to implement extra protocols for guest safety. Capella Singapore, for example, has been working hard to safeguard against COVID-19 under rigorous new health, hygiene, and safety standards. Many others have followed suit in the safety department, such as the iconic Raffles Hotel, and the acclaimed Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.
COVID-19 safety at popular attractions
Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari, Jurong Bird Park
Singapore’s award-winning wildlife parks, managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), have long been regarded as the best in Asia. Well-manicured and spacious, the Singapore Zoo and its sister parks sit amongst sprawling forested gardens that house many delightful creatures, from chittering otters to docile tapirs. Having reopened to the public at a limited capacity, you’ll need to pre-book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment!
These are some preventative and protective measures implemented by Wildlife Reserves Singapore for your safety:
- All visitors are required to pre-book tickets online, indicating the date and time they would like to visit
- The Night Safari will only be open from Thursdays to Sundays, under shorter operating hours from 7 pm to 11 pm
- Parks have capacity limits — arrive no later than 45 minutes from your selected time slot
- Masks must be worn at all times, and reusable masks are also made available for purchase at retail shops
- Some high-touch and high-proximity exhibits and experiences have been temporarily closed to keep visitors safe
- Contactless payment is encouraged
Gardens by the Bay
Few things encapsulate Singapore more than the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay, which glow a multitude of colors at night. The lush and futuristic grounds are also home to majestic indoor temperature-controlled conservatories. Escape from the heavy tropical heat and head into the rainbow world of the Flower Dome, where it is perpetually spring and its many themed gardens are always in bloom. If you’re up for a vertical climb, the mist-veiled world of the Cloud Forest will intrigue you with its 35-meter manmade mountain covered in walkways and plant life. Don’t forget to take a photo of the striking indoor waterfall in all its glory!
These are some preventative and protective measures implemented by Gardens by the Bay for your safety:
- Before visiting ticketed areas such as the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, visitors are required to pre-book their timed-entry tickets online or via the Gardens by the Bay Mobile App for effective safe distancing and crowd regulation
- Visitors must check into the venue via the SafeEntry system and mandatory temperature screening is conducted at entrances
- Face masks must be worn at all times, including while taking photographs
- Air-chilling systems in conservatories are quipped with high-performance germicidal UV-C lights to improve air quality
- Hand sanitizers are made available at all entrances, exits, and high-contact areas
National Gallery Singapore
Here’s some history for you. Before it was converted into the ambitious National Gallery Singapore, this palatial architectural marvel housed the country’s City Hall and Supreme Court. Today, the building is where you’ll find a large collection of paintings and sculptures from around Southeast Asia. Located in the Downtown Core district, the gallery remains a quiet and peaceful venue for art-lovers who want to escape the buzzing atmosphere of the city without having to go far.
These are some preventative and protective measures implemented by National Gallery Singapore for your safety:
- Visitors are encouraged to pre-purchase tickets online before visiting the gallery for quicker redemption of passes at ticketing counters
- Visitors must check into the venue via the SafeEntry system and mandatory temperature screening is conducted at entrances
- Masks must be worn at all times on the premises
- Floor markers and barriers are used to facilitate safe distancing
- All interactive exhibitions have been suspended temporarily
- Opening hours have been revised, and a 50-person-per-hour capacity limit is in effect
- Cleaning and disinfection frequency is increased, particularly for high-touch areas such as door handles and railings
Off the mainland to the south, Sentosa Island houses some of Singapore’s most enticing attractions. This includes Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium, alongside a smorgasbord of restaurants and hotels at Resorts World Sentosa, as well as lovely beaches and beach clubs to unwind at. As a hub for tourist activities, the island has made some necessary safe management changes, such as:
- Implementing controlled entry and exit points for guests who visit Tanjong Beach, Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Palawan Green
- Implementing queue management systems and floor markings to ensure safe distancing
- Encouraging patrons to make restaurant reservations in advance to eliminate the need for queuing
- Ensuring SafeEntry system check-in and mandatory temperature screening is conducted at all entrances
- Increasing frequency of cleaning and disinfecting at all high-traffic and high-touch areas
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site. Boasting sprawling grounds perfect for recreational activities like yoga and picnic outings, there are also several botanical-related exhibits and themed gardens that are worth checking out. Plant hobbyists will appreciate a visit to the National Orchid Garden, which houses over 60,000 plants, including the world’s largest orchid display.
While the Singapore Botanic Gardens is now open to the public, there are certain restrictions in place:
- Feeding of wildlife (fish, swans, birds, turtles, etc) is not allowed
- Group sizes of more than 5 people are not allowed.
- A distance of at least 1 meter should be maintained between other groups
- If exercising, a distance of at least 3 meters should be maintained
- All visitors must wear a mask if they are not engaging in strenuous exercise
Know of more protocols that answer the question is it safe to travel to Singapore? Share them with us! Traveling elsewhere? Remember to bookmark our handy resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, to remain up-to-date with regulations around the world.