Phase 3 (Heightened Alert): Implications for travel, staycations, cruises and attractions

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Singapore will loosen restrictions from 14 June, as COVID-19 community cases wane. Here's the impact on travel and leisure plans.

Thanks to a steady drop in COVID-19 community cases, Singapore is preparing to move into Phase 3 (Heighted Alert) from 14 June 2021, loosening restrictions that were first imposed back in May. 

This will happen in two steps, as summarized below:

Source: Today Online | Click to enlarge

Here’s the expected impact on air travel, staycations, cruises and attraction bookings. 

Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) Measures

Air Travel

General Air Travel

Arrivals from almost all countries are required to serve a 21-day SHN

ICA SafeTravel Portal

There are no major developments here. The 21-day SHN period will continue to be in force for arrivals from all countries, except a selected few. 

Arriving From SHN Duration
🇦🇺 Australia (excluding Victoria state) N/A
🇧🇳 Brunei N/A
🇨🇳 China (excluding Guangdong province) N/A
🇳🇿 New Zealand N/A
🇦🇺 Australia (Victoria state) 7 days at place of residence
🇨🇳 China (Guangdong province) 7 days at place of residence
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR 7 days at place of residence
🇲🇴 Macao SAR 7 days at place of residence
🌏 All other countries 21 days in SDF*
*SDF= SHN Dedicated Facility. Arrivals from Fiji and Taiwan have the option to serve the last 7 days in their own residence

The cost of a 21-day SHN remains at S$3,000, excluding testing. 

Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble

The Hong Kong ATB has been further postponed to July

Unfortunately, the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB will be deferred until at least July. The Ministry of Transport released a statement today confirming this:

Both Singapore and Hong Kong remain strongly committed to launching the ATB safely. We will continue to monitor the public health situation in both places closely. Both Minister Iswaran and Secretary Yau have maintained close contact and agreed that both sides would review the situation in early July, before making a decision on the target launch dates of the ATB flights. An update will be provided at that point.

For what it’s worth, the seven day moving average of unknown source cases in Singapore is now just 1.00, a marked improvement from two weeks ago. Hong Kong’s average is at 0.14, so the current trends look positive (but where have we heard that before).

Source: @tripperhead

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are offering full refunds for all ATB bookings, with a waiver of penalty fees. I’ve outlined the refund process in this post. 

Staycations

Staycation restrictions will loosen in Phase 3 | Photo: One Farrer Hotel

Phase 3 (HA) Measures for Hotels

From 14 June 2021, the maximum number of guests permitted in a room for staycations will be increased to five people, up from the current two. Families with the same residential address may have more than five people to a guestroom, subject to existing guidelines (and assuming the hotel’s policies allow it). 

However, with the 21-day SHN restriction still in force, a significant number of hotels have reverted to SHN-only facilities, limiting the number of staycation options available. The Westin Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore, Conrad Centennial and many others are currently not open to public bookings until September at the earliest. 

Conrad Singapore gym
Gyms will be allowed to resume operations from 21 June | Photo: Conrad Centennial

Hotel spas will be able to resume treatments which require masks to be removed, e.g facials. However, the staycation experience will only improve significantly from 21 June, when the following restrictions get lifted:

  • Hotel F&B outlets can resume dining-in, meaning you won’t need to take all your meals in the room anymore (for anyone curious about what that looks like, see this post)
  • Gyms will resume operations, subject to the usual safe distancing measures

Swimming pools were already allowed to operate during Phase 2 (HA), so there’s no change there. 

Cruises

Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas

Phase 3 (HA) Measures for Cruises

The past few weeks have been a really surreal experience for cruisers, as reported in The Milelion Cruise Society Telegram group (a.k.a. Sealions). Cruises have been operating, but only at 25% capacity and no dining-in.

While having to take all your meals in the cabin is a bit of a buzzkill, the flipside is that loads have been as low as ~300 passengers, giving an unprecedented amount of personal space on a cruise ship built for 5,000. Cruise ship activities have been mostly uninterrupted, albeit with stricter capacity controls- you can still ride the bumper cars, use the pool, and go surfing on FlowRider. 

Dream Cruises put together a short video on the cruising experience during Phase 2 (HA), which you can check out here.

From 14 June 2021, cruise capacity will return to 50%. Since cruises follow the same rules as on land, you can also expect the following:

  • Maximum 5 guests per cabin (subject to the cruise liner’s own policies)
  • Dine-in to resume from 21 June 2021
  • Gyms to resume operations from 21 June 2021

The previous flexibility policies announced by Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean still apply, namely:

Dream Cruises

Guests with sailing dates from 16 May to 13 June 2021 will have the option to receive a future cruise credit for the full amount of their cruise, redeemable on any World Dream voyage departing Singapore from 16 June 2021 to 31 March 2022. Guests will receive a further bonus onboard credit as follows:

  • 3-night Sunday cruise- S$75 per cabin
  • 2-night Wednesday/Friday cruise- S$50 per cabin

Guests may also chose to cancel their cruise and receive a full refund. 

Royal Caribbean

Guests can cancel their bookings and opt to receive a 100% future cruise credit. Customers who prefer a refund instead will need to contact Royal Caribbean at +65 6305 0033.

Attractions

Universal Studios Singapore

Phase 3 (HA) Measures for Attractions

Just like cruises, attraction capacity will be increased from 25% to 50% from 14 June 2021. If you’re planning to bring the kids somewhere for the second half of June, it’s worth seeing if more time slots have opened up at your preferred attraction. 

Conclusion

It’s great news that Singapore will be loosening restrictions from Monday, and I’m looking forward to the return of dining-in again. I’m also happy to hear that vaccines will finally be rolled out to people in my age group– don’t forget to pre-register if you’ve not already done so. 

The further postponement of the Hong Kong ATB is disappointing but understandable, given how the authorities want to give the situation time to stabilize. Let’s hope third time really is the charm, and maybe this time let’s just announce it 24 hours before it’s supposed to happen.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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