Vaccination-differentiated measures kick in at hotels, institutes of higher learning and indoor sports facilities

People check in with their TraceTogether app at the entrance of Grand Hyatt Singapore on Feb 1, 2022. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures kicked in at hotels, hostels and serviced apartments; institutes of higher learning (IHLs); and indoor sports facilities on Tuesday (Feb 1), further expanding the scope of settings that unvaccinated people will not be able to enter.

Such measures are now also applicable for media conferences, work-related events as well as funerary memorial events.

This means only those who are fully vaccinated; those medically ineligible for Covid-19 vaccines; people who have recovered from the virus; as well as children aged 12 and below will be able to enter such settings.

However, agencies and ministries have further clarified previous guidelines for hotels and IHLs.

Previously, vaccination-differentiated measures at hotels were to apply to leisure guests only. Now they will apply to all guests and visitors.

In an updated advisory for hotels released on Monday (Jan 31), the Singapore Tourism Board said that while unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals may enter the hotel premises, they will not be allowed to enter areas where sleeping facilities are provided, such as guest floors and guest rooms.

Just before 3pm, the usual check-in time at many hotels, there was a steady stream of guests seen entering several hotels The Straits Times visited in the Orchard and Marina Bay area on Tuesday. No guests were seen to be turned away.

Vaccination-differentiated measures also kicked in at IHLs - including Institute of Technical Education (ITE) campuses, polytechnics and universities.

According to updated guidelines on the Ministry of Education website, unvaccinated visitors will not be allowed to enter their campuses.

But part-time students will now be exempt from vaccination-differentiated measures, alongside full-time students pursuing Nitec/Higher Nitec, diploma or undergraduate degree qualifications.

This is a change from an initial guideline that said that all students other than full-time ones - such as those on part-time programmes - and visitors will need to be fully vaccinated to enter IHL campuses from Tuesday.

The guidelines for other sectors where vaccination-differentiated measures took effect on Tuesday remain the same.

Among them are indoor sports and fitness facilities. Such facilities, and those that ST spoke to last week, said it would be business as usual for them.

Agencies such as Sport Singapore, which operates 26 swimming complexes and 24 fitness gyms around the island, have implemented vaccination-differentiated measures for higher risk activities like indoor mask-off activities at gyms since August last year.

Fire City founder Samuel Lim said the CrossFit gym implemented vaccination-differentiated measures last August, allowing unvaccinated people to exercise only within an allocated outdoor space.

“So far we’ve only had to turn away one person who requested to come indoors. Our two unvaccinated regulars have been respectful,” he said.

“We make sure everyone’s vaccination status is checked and we constantly sanitise equipment. Our instructors also stay within the indoor space while conducting classes for those outdoors.”

Mr Willie Goh, the director of gymnastics centre Gymkraft, said it has allowed only fully vaccinated people to enter both its branches in Tampines and Kallang since last August.

“We’re interacting with kids, so it made sense for all adults to be fully vaccinated. Luckily, we did not have any major disputes,” he said.

“We check vaccination status on TraceTogether, and all classes require masks to be on at all times regardless of age."

A photo from May 5, 2021, shows the Gymkraft outlet at Kallang Wave Mall. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Business development representative Asher Chua, 27, who has an Anytime Fitness membership and mainly visits the Cecil Street branch, said he felt safe taking his mask off to exercise as the staff there check for vaccination status and requires gym-goers to write down their names and contact number.

“They also ensure social distancing and have a limit on how many people can enter. Staff also sanitise equipment regularly. There’s usually only about 15 people when I go there, so I think it’s quite safe,” he added.

Ms Mira Lee, 26, who works in the finance industry, exercises at least three times a week at Body Fit Training’s Paya Lebar branch.

She said: “When I went to various Body Fit outlets for the past few months, my vaccination status had to be checked before going in. I think it helps to give those working out a peace of mind.”

The number of settings that the unvaccinated segment of the population can enter continues to be tightened.

Currently, vaccination-differentiation measures are applicable for everything from dining at food and beverage establishments, to entering attractions, cinemas and shopping malls. They are also applicable for all congregational and worship services.

As at Sunday (Jan 30), 92 per cent of the eligible population has completed the full vaccination regimen, while 91 per cent of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Also, 58 per cent of the population has received their booster shots.

As at noon on Tuesday, 756 people were hospitalised with Covid-19. There were 6,120 community cases reported.

  • Additional reporting by Samuel Devaraj, Siti Sarah and Isabelle Liew

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