Return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert): Implications for travel, staycations, cruises and attractions

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Singapore returns to Phase 2 (HA) until 18 August 2021. Here's the impact on your travel and leisure activities.

Singapore will return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) conditions from 22 July to 18 August 2021, as the country seeks to tackle a flare-up in COVID-19 community cases linked to KTV lounges and the Jurong Fishery Port. 

Summary of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions | Graphic: Today Online

If the title of this post sounds familiar, well, it should. In the space of less than three months, we’ve gone to Phase 2, then Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), then Phase 3, and now back to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) again. It’s frustrating, but hopefully this will be the last rodeo as we inch closer and closer towards a critical mass of vaccinated individuals. 

In the meantime, here’s the expected impact on air travel, staycations, cruises and attraction bookings. 

Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) Measures
✈️ Air Travel🚢 Cruises
🏨 Staycations🎡 Attractions

Air Travel

General Air Travel

Temperature screening at Changi Airport

ICA SafeTravel Portal

In June, the maximum SHN duration for inbound travelers to Singapore was cut from 21 to 14 days. This remains unchanged, with the MOH concluding that the new COVID-19 variants do not come with longer incubation periods. 

Here’s the latest snapshot of SHN measures by country:

Arriving FromSHN Duration
🇧🇳BruneiN/A
🇨🇳ChinaN/A
🇳🇿New ZealandN/A
🇦🇺Australia7 days at place of residence
🇭🇰Hong Kong SAR7 days at place of residence
🇲🇴Macao SAR7 days at place of residence
🌏All other countries14 days in SDF*
*SDF= SHN Dedicated Facility. Arrivals from Israel and Taiwan may serve the SHN at their place of residence

The cost of a 14-day SHN remains at S$2,000, excluding testing. 

Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble

The Hong Kong ATB has been further postponed

Unsurprisingly, the Singapore – Hong Kong ATB remains on ice, with the Ministry of Transport issuing the following statement (emphasis mine): 

1. Given the recent surge in community cases and the imposition of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures in Singapore till 18 August 2021, both Mr Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, and Mr Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, have jointly agreed to resume discussions on the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) only when the COVID-19 situation allows. 

2. Both parties will remain in close contact and monitor the public health situation in both places before taking stock in late August on the ATB. 

tl;dr: the ATB will be reviewed in late August, which means we can forget about Hong Kong travel until September at the earliest. 

And yes, in case it needed mentioning, Singapore’s 7-day moving average of unknown source cases is skyrocketing. As of yesterday, the figure was 9.71, and will doubtlessly get worse before it gets better. 

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 tighten up during Phase 2 (HA) | Photo: PARKROYAL Pickering

From 22 July 2021, the maximum number of guests permitted in a room for staycations will be capped at two, unless all guests are from the same household. 

While hotel facilities will mostly remain open, there will be additional restrictions as summarized below: 

FacilityStatus
🏋️ GymClosed
🍽️ RestaurantsOpen: In-room dining only
🏊‍♂️ Swimming PoolOpen
💆 SpaOpen: Restricted to mask-on services

All meals will have to be taken in the room, including breakfast and afternoon tea/evening canapes for hotels with executive lounges.I wrote an article about the staycation experience during Phase 2 (HA) in May, and it stands to reason it should be very much the same this time round. 

Pan Pacific Breakfast (Pacific Club) | Photo: Hui Ling

For a collection of community-sourced data points on in-room breakfast during Phase 2 (HA), refer to the links below:

Cruises

Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas
Cruises will continue, but at 25% capacity | Photo: Royal Caribbean 

Cruises will revert to 25% capacity restrictions, and just like on land, there’ll be no dine-in, gyms will be closed, spas will be restricted to mask-on services, and shows will have limited capacity. 

Whether it’s still worth cruising really boils down to what you value. If you dislike the idea of taking all your meals in your stateroom, this obviously isn’t for you. But if you dislike crowds, this could quite possibly be nirvana.

Based on reports in The Milelion Cruise Society (a.k.a. Sealions) from the previous Phase 2 (HA), loads were as light as 300-500 passengers (on a ship built for 5,000), giving each person an unprecedented amount of personal space.

Here’s my quick take on the pros/cons of sailing during this time:

ProsCons
  • Tons of personal space
  • Minimal wait time for attractions
  • Most activities proceed as per normal
  • Shows capped at 50 people; may be reserved exclusively for suites guests
  • All meals taken in-room
  • Specialty dining closed, MDR food only (suites guests may order from their special kitchens)
  • Gym closed
  • Club lounge closed
  • Spas restricted to mask-on services
  • Dining and drinks packages not offered

Dream Cruise

Dream Cruises has issued a statement on its policies for guests departing from 23 July to 18 August 2021. 

The short version is that guests can either receive a full refund of their fares and charges, or receive a future cruise credit with a bonus:

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

Cruise credits can be redeemed for another World Dream voyage departing from Singapore from 21 August 2021 to 31 March 2022. The following blackout periods apply:

  • 3-10 September 2021
  • 20 November to 31 December 2021
  • 30 January 2022 to 4 February 2022

Guests can contact Genting Cruises at 6808 2288 or 6223 0002. 

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has sent out the following email to guests on affected sailings:

Click to enlarge | Credit: Angeline

There are currently conflicting reports as to what exactly is being offered, but there should be three main options:

  1. Full refund (will require contacting RCL at 6305 0033, and you may need to be a bit assertive)
  2. Future cruise credit
  3. Lift and shift

The difference between (2) and (3) is that the former is valid on any future Royal Caribbean sailing, at prevailing rates. The latter shifts you to a different date on the same itinerary type, sailing length, and stateroom category, with no additional fees. 

Attractions

Attractions will continue to operate at 25% capacity | Photo: Universal Studios Singapore

Just like cruises, attraction capacity will be reduced to 25%. Do reconfirm with your attraction provider whether your booking is still valid, as they may need to postpone or cancel some tickets to satisfy the cap. 

Conclusion

Klook has already issued a statement regarding bookings during Phase 2 (HA), and Trip.com and Travleoka should follow shortly. Don’t worry about things like SRV though- these will be fully refunded just like the last time round. 

In the meantime, stay safe and get vaccinated- it’s the fastest way to break out of this cycle. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Upset

Govt bans dining in for 2 even at hawkers, hotel lounges and cafes but 2 strangers can socialise or visit homes. No logic unless all household visitors keep masks on and aircon off which doesn’t happen in reality

Generic Guy

… and even more so can crowd public transport

JieQ

Singapore fast turning into a joke. The government too scared to force the stubborn elderly to vaccinate and as a result locks everyone else down- if it wasn’t for Hong Kong becoming a basket case Singapore’s days of being an important business hub would be over. Government seem hell bent into turning singapore into an isolated irrelevant red dot. Best days are well behind us….

Generic Guy

well it is not fair to label seniors as stubborn when not all are eligible for vaccinations.
Besides, those who are eligible and reject the vaccine would have also weighed the risks – so give them the benefit of doubt that they are making the best decision for themselves.

Ultimately, it is the government who chooses to be kiasi.

JieQ

True- maybe the biggest question is why did Singapore basically close borders to pass holders and let “girlfriends” in and keep the KTV open- guess the government like it too much….

ZYX

LOL can I book affected RCCL itinerary and lift and shift to popular dates such as December

Generic Guy

hence don’t be too quick to ‘lock down’ those dates ;P

Justme

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-07-21/as-singapore-reenters-phase-two-we-re-losing-sight-of-the-data-that-matters

I agree that for those who choose not to be vaccinated, we should not vilify them. They have good reasons.

Kopi lim

With the supposed increasing vaccination rates, this is probably the last chance for the MMTF to backpedal to tighter measures every time cases spike.

Just look at the NBA fans in attendance at this morning’s Suns-Bucks game, all clustered together with masks off. Meanwhile we can’t even enjoy a sit-down meal at a restaurant or food court.

What a joke.

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