To date, 10 hotels and hostels have been fined for breaching safe management measures, such as failing to conduct entry screening and/or record contact details of guests that enter their premises.
SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has directed two Resorts World Sentosa hotels, the Beach Villas and Equarius Hotel, to suspend bookings for 1 month from 22 Dec 2020 to 21 Jan 2021 (both dates inclusive) for failing to comply with safe management measures (SMMs). The two hotels are not permitted to accept new bookings for the duration of the suspension. However, they are still permitted to fulfil existing bookings.
To date, 10 hotels and hostels have been fined for breaching safe management measures, such as failing to conduct entry screening and/or record contact details of guests that enter their premises. STB takes a serious view of any breach in SMMs and will not hesitate to take enforcement action for non-compliance. Businesses and members of public are required to adhere to prevailing safe management measures to prevent COVID-19 clusters from forming. The Government will also step up enforcement checks during this period to ensure compliance.
Businesses and members of public are also reminded that the current group size limit of five individuals will continue to apply until Phase Three takes effect from 28 Dec 2020. Strict enforcement action will be taken against errant businesses or individuals, which may include fines, temporary closure and prosecution to the full extent of the law.
Investigations by STB’s enforcement officers revealed that at least 15 individuals had gathered in a two-storey villa in Beach Villas on 10 October 2020, which was booked under four of these individuals. Of the 15 individuals, only four were registered as guests with the hotel.
Based on existing SMMs, hotels must not allow gatherings of more than 5 individuals in any guest rooms, except where the gathering consists wholly of individuals from the same household.
STB also found that the hotel did not take steps to conduct entry screening (e.g. temperature checks) of these individuals and did not implement SafeEntry to ensure that they had checked in for contact tracing.
Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, every guest or visitor entering hotels or hostels need to be screened, including having their temperature taken, before they enter the premises. All businesses are also required to log the check-in of employees and visitors using SafeEntry for contact tracing.
STB found that Equarius Hotel had failed to prevent a gathering consisting of 16 individuals to take place in one of its guest rooms on 17 Nov 2020.
The guest room was booked under the names of three of these 16 individuals. Equarius Hotel failed to deploy staff at entry points to ensure SafeEntry check-ins and temperature taking for these individuals, and to ensure not more than five individuals had gathered in the same guest room.
Further investigations of the two hotels and individuals involved are underway, and enforcement actions may be taken. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020, first-time offenders 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.
Additional SMMs for hotels
STB introduced additional SMMs for hotels on 1 Dec 2020, following an increase in such incidents and in view of the upcoming festive period to ensure that group size limits and entry screening requirements are adhered to.
As part of these additional SMMs, hotels are required to:
i. Inform guests about group size limits and the penalties for non-compliance, through pre-arrival emails, at the point of check-in, or other forms of communication. Hotels must obtain documented acknowledgment from guests.
ii. Display signage at lift lobbies highlighting the maximum permissible group size for the social gatherings and the corresponding penalties if guests and visitors do not comply.
iii. Ensure that every visitor to a guest room is pre-registered by the guest prior to arrival. These visitors are required to present themselves at the front desk for registration before being allowed entry to the guest room. Hotels must also ensure that the entry of every visitor to a guest room is monitored through effective means such as use of visitor passes, or staff stationed at lift lobbies. Records of pre-registration and monitoring of visitors must be kept for not less than 28 days after the day the record is made. Hotels must deny entry to the room to any other individual, if a guest room or pair of adjoining guest rooms where the connecting door(s) may be opened by guests already has 5 persons in it.
iv. Implement security patrols to perform regular checks and monitor for any suspicious behaviour through closed circuit television surveillance of lobby, lifts and corridors for suspicious behaviour.
Businesses that do not comply with the government’s SMMs may also be ineligible for government grants, loans, tax rebates and other assistance.