Hotels ramp up room capacity for longer stay-home notices

But some have been converted into SHN-only facilities and had to turn away staycation guests

More than 12,000 people currently serving their stay-home notices (SHN) in hotels here last Saturday have begun an additional week of self-isolation at their current location, as tightened border and community measures kicked in.

Hotels serving as SHN facilities have put in place additional measures to help their guests cope with longer stays, while also ramping up their room capacities. But the new rules have left some holidaygoers frustrated, as some hotels that previously catered to staycation guests have been converted into SHN-only facilities and have cancelled bookings.

Last Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it would tighten border measures to manage the risk of Covid-19 being imported by travellers and transmitted to the local community.

From 11.59pm last Friday, all travellers arriving in Singapore would have to undergo 21 days of SHN - instead of 14 days previously - except those coming from Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Those on a 14-day SHN and yet to complete isolation by midnight on Friday must serve an additional seven days at their current facility to minimise movement and risk of transmission, MOH said previously.

This means an additional $1,200 in expenses for a single traveller for the extra week of food and accommodation at a hotel, as well as for one more polymerase chain reaction Covid-19 test on the 21st day of SHN. This is on top of the $2,000 for a 14-day SHN under previous rules.

The Straits Times understands guests who booked staycations at hotels such as Park Hotel Clarke Quay and Mandarin Orchard have been told to postpone or cancel their bookings, as these hotels would become dedicated SHN facilities.

At least seven hotels, with a total capacity of 3,000 rooms, have converted or will turn into SHN-only facilities.

More than 70 hotels here have been serving as SHN-dedicated facilities since March last year, with the number of facilities in use varying based on demand, said the authorities.

They did not say how many additional hotels were activated in light of the extended SHN.

For safety and security reasons, hotels that are activated may turn away guests staying for leisure purposes, the agencies added.

Singaporeans who have used their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers to book a staycation at these hotels are eligible for product exchange and/or cancellation and refund if their booking has been affected. More details will be announced soon.

Hotel operators told ST they will do more to help their guests cope with the extended SHN requirements.

Accor's hotels, which include Fairmont Singapore and the Ibis Budget chain, will implement additional calls to check in on their guests, and expand their food and beverage menus to provide more variety, he added.

Some hotels, such as The Westin Singapore, have expanded and intensified their cleaning regime.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.