Revealed: 7,500+ hotel rooms booked by SG Government for Stay-Home Notice (SHN) persons

8 min read

Short of officially declaring a full lockdown and stopping Singaporean residents from coming home from abroad during the global Covid-19 outbreak, the Singapore government has put in place a strict Stay-Home Notice (SHN) protocol that involves 14-day isolation upon arrival.

And instead of allowing returnees to go back to their own homes and risking the potential spread of the coronavirus (to their family members, for example), the government has coordinated a massive response to house returnees in dedicated facilities for the duration of their two-week SHN, including booking over 7,500 hotel rooms and serviced apartments across Singapore.

We’re talking about entire properties booked out for one- or two-month blocks. A check with one of the hotels reserved by the government revealed that the booking was made through the Singapore Tourism Board, which points towards a swift and organised whole-of-government approach to contain the spread of Covid-19 in our community. (Earlier, we wrote about how the URA is coordinating with property developers.)

These are just some of the major hotels that are stepping up for the nation in time of need by providing their properties for SHN:

Hotel Location Operated by Number of Rooms
Conrad Centennial Singapore Marina Bay Hilton Worldwide 512
Grand Park Orchard Orchard Park Hotel Group 308
InterContinental Singapore Bugis InterContinental Hotels Group 403
Pan Pacific Singapore Marina Bay Pan Pacific Group 790
Parkroyal Collection Pickering Chinatown Pan Pacific Group 367
Royal Plaza on Scotts Orchard Sajahtera Investments 511
Six Senses Duxton Tanjong Pagar InterContinental Hotels Group 49
Six Senses Maxwell Tanjong Pagar InterContinental Hotels Group 138
Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa Sentosa Shangri-la Group 454
Swissotel The Stamford Singapore City Hall Swissotel Hotels and Resorts 1,261
Village Hotel Albert Court Bugis Far East Hospitality 210
Village Hotel Sentosa Sentosa Far East Hospitality 606

What the ‘Stay-Home Notice hotels’ told us:

For the hotels in the above list, 99.co can confirm they have been booked out by the government and are unable to take reservations from other guests currently. Some, like Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, told us that “our hotel has been requested by the government to provide a dedicated facility for returning guests on Stay-Home Notice” and “will only be available from first of May onwards”, whereas Village Hotel Sentosa told us bookings will reopen from “first of June”.

Despite the government booking up entire properties only up until a certain date, most hotels we spoke to, such as Conrad Centennial Singapore, Pan Pacific Hotel, Village Hotel Albert Court, told us outright that they are not taking any reservations “until further notice”. (FYI: Dining establishments at these hotels remain open to the public, as food for persons serving SHN is catered by an external vendor.)

With more than 200,000 Singaporeans living abroad and the Covid-19 outbreak showing no sign of abating at the time of writing, it’s understandable that we need the volume of accommodation for an indefinite period of time. Even if the global situation improves and border restrictions are lifted, it’s likely that our government will continue to impose SHN on foreign arrivals, given the elusiveness of the coronavirus and the need to play it as safe as possible.

stay home notice shn hotel singapore parkroyal collection pickering
A hotel room at Parkroyal Collection Pickering, which is being used as a designated facility to house Stay-Home Notice (SHN) returnees.

But why so atas?

We know that many Singaporeans have been asking: Why is there a need for the government to spend so much money for hotel rooms to house those who are issued with a Stay-Home Notice? Why can’t we just house them in dormitories, chalets, army camps and even vacant HDB units?

Before you question the need to spend millions of taxpayer money on hotels for SHN, here’s the reasons why we think the government is doing the right thing:

Reason #1: Only hotels can offer large centralised accommodation

Frankly, there not a lot of places that are able to provide the volume of accommodation that hotels do. There are no HDB blocks that are vacant on a scale that can house the sheer number of returnees, and even if there is, an HDB block typically only has, on average, about 150 units. And most of them are in 3- or 4-room configurations, not ideal for one-person isolation.

Furthermore, unlike other residential facilities, hotels already have a network of CCTVs in common areas, as well as a team of security personnel, that can be used to spot any breach of the Stay-Home Notice.

[Recommended article: How the Resilience Package could help the SG property market]

Reason #2: Hotels come with a whole suite of support staff

Looking after thousands of people serving Stay-Home Notices can be a logistical nightmare. And the stakes are so high that we cannot afford to slip up.

Hotels come with a ready team of staff, who’ve been trained to high standards for ensuring the well-being of guests, with the vital camaraderie of working as a huge team and a wealth of experience under their belts when it comes to deep cleaning and disinfecting procedures, as well as handling of contingency and emergency situations.

Housing SHN returnees in hotels, government personnel can focus on monitoring their health status without having to tend to personal needs like getting them another blanket or fixing a faulty light bulbthe hotel has those things covered.

Reason #3: This is important for the image of our nation

Even in the middle of a crisis, public image is vital. Not only has the Singapore government long been known for putting our best foot forward, be it in public housing or healthcare or tourism, it also knows the value in doing so.

Already, we have reports of SHN returnees documenting their time of serving the Stay-Home Notice on social media. Every positive experience is an endorsement of our country for potential visitors. And when Covid-19 does eventually blow over, the good impressions we’ve left will position us well for a recovery.

Reason #4: A 14-day isolation is no joke

Imagine having to be alone in a confined space for two whole weeks. Even with your smartphone and gadgets, your sanity will be sorely tested just a few days into confinement. A well-appointed hotel room makes the best out of a challenging situation. It’s the most humane thing next to the high-risk move of isolating returnees at home.

stay home notice shn singapore hotel
Serving a 14-day Stay-Home Notice can be a mentally challenging experience.

Reason #5: The hotels are further away from the heartlands

Isolation is the name of the game here, and just as well that hotels are typically located far from the population centres of Singapore: the HDB heartlands. The risk of community spread is further reduced by accommodating returnees in locations such as Marina Bay and Tanjong Pagar for their stay home notice.

Reason #6: The hotels will otherwise be empty anyway

As we all know, tourism is dead for the time being. Hotels are facing dark times and their staff are worried about their livelihoods as occupancy drops to zero or near zero. So, a contract with the government to provide bulk Stay-Home Notice accommodation is a godsend, and is a move that will potentially safeguard thousands of jobs in the industry and directly boost the economy, in addition to the recently announced Resilience Package.

 

But why are there so many five-star hotels on the list?

The short answer is because there’s no margin for mistakes. There are several key criteria when choosing a hotel for an undertaking as important as providing SHN accommodation, and only the very best hotels meet those criteria.

Not only must the hotels have a stellar track record, their staff needs to be at the top of their game and able to coordinate and execute instructions and procedures as advised by the government. One of the must-haves, in terms of hardware, is an air-conditioning system that ensures every room has a supply of clean, filtered air.

 

Will the hotel Stay-Home Notice (SHN) be effective?

Our government has clearly thought it through and did a risk-cost-benefit analysis before it decided to mass-book entire hotels in Singapore to isolate those returning from abroad. One thing’s for sure: We will not leave Singaporeans stranded overseas in times of crisis. And we’re glad that the hotels are stepping up and playing a role in our fight against Covid-19!

 

[Additional research and reporting by Eliza Hamizah]

 

Do you agree with using hotels for Stay-Home Notice measures? Voice your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook community page.

If you enjoyed this article, check out This Sengkang BTO project made more profit than The Pinnacle @ Duxton and How does a neighbourhood shopping mall die?

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Reader Interactions

Comments

    • Lee teck tiam

      This is critical and very serious virus which every country are fighting now, SHN is the best and must to avoid any infected visit customer or returnee to spread the virus to the community. Our government have done the great job, people whole have well taken care and brought back from oversea, should appreciate and thank for our government efforts and people whose behind to arrange all the work arrangement.

      • Eng

        Ahhh! Then why some earlier ones are placed on stay at home? They can infect family members right? If they leave home, worse, can infect unknown persons right?

        • JPong

          Please correct menif I am wrong. The 2 weeks stay in the hotel is self-paid right & not paid by the government, per se.

    • chua

      Those at Albert Court were strolling around Serangoon Road area. handphones with their room mates……They also get $1400 spending money!!!

    • Yeo Siew Siang

      Well done. Everybody is taken care of. Those serving SHN, the otherwise unbooked hotel rooms and their workers, and the safety of not locked down Singaporeans at large working, shopping and patronising our malls and hawkers centres. Years of prudent Government savings has put us in such a favourable position to be able to weather in style, this storm while keeping wheels of our industries , our commerce and our society functioning. And, welcoming our citizens overseas in endangered countries home to safety and free, good medical care, if they need. 3 cheers for good Governance.

    • Ks foo

      Win-win-win alliance for all parties concerned given the large number of Singapore returnees, potential severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, logistics and stringent precautionary measures implemented. Better to be safe and sure.

    • Viagnette

      Stay home notice at hotels is a great idea. The stayhomers need not feel isolated because they can still watch TV for latest updates. They have access to personal bathrooms and they need not worry about lack of food and daily essentials. They could also call family and friends from their rooms.

    • Eddie Chew

      Splendid idea and i support the action taken to house returning Singaporeans on SHN.
      At least we are sure they are bring monitored and no worry about SHN going around Singapore. Hotel owners should be thankful for this opportunity to have full house occupancy and keep their staff employed. SHN will not be suspended as long as Corvid is still around

    • Lisa Chan

      Is it true that only Singaporean returning from USA/UK will get to be isolated in these hotels? If it is true, what about the rest from other countries, where do they go? Why is there a different treatment for different countries?

      • Eng

        Good question?

    • Rayner Lee

      I have a mix feeling on hotel stay for Singaporean coming home. I am also serving SHN but how come we stay at home and not hotel.
      What is the selection criteria on this? Can you advise .

      • Eng

        At last I found one SHN at home. You have to pressure them because you are a danger to your home members. And if you go out, the public also in danger!!!

    • Chan

      The stay at the hotels for SHN is not free for those who are required to stay there. It is chargeable and they have to pay. The government is not fully footing the bill for them. In that sense, the taxpayer’s money is not used. Hotels have also reduced the rates to strike a compromise and a win-win situation is reached for all. Otherwise, the hotels are empty and are not revenue-generating

      • Tan

        No they are not paying for themselves

      • Eng

        News reported free hotel stay, where you get your info?

    • Elaine

      Is stay home notice valid to all singaporean returned from malaysia through land and sea,other then air

    • Cora Stuart

      Straits times today says government is paying for the accommodation. What about some of us who booked other places – will the government also subsidize our expense?

    • Joel

      The govt has done the right thing, u will go mad in a shitty place for 14 days plus u cant get it wrong! Australia is also using only 5 star hotels, makes sense.

      • Grant Williams

        Australia is using a mix of 3.4 & 5 star hotel . You could get the Intercontinental or the ibis

    • Why should WE the poor taxpayers pay for them?

      If those Singaporeans, PRs and long-term pass holders can afford to study, work and stay overseas, they can afford to pay for their own hotel stays for SHN. Why should WE the poor taxpayers pay for them? Isn’t this robbing the poor to pay for the rich? I will make my feelings known at the next GE!!!

      • Goh Soon Seng

        If you or your loved ones are amongst this group of SHN folks, you wouldn’t be so noble as to pay your own expenses to save tax payers money.
        You would be screaming bloody hell that the government doesn’t take care of you if you have to fork out your own money.
        Be careful what you wish for, they always warn us.

    • David Han

      1)…why only for UK/USA returnees. The others are such a small numbers, are equally infectious to household people, & can be accorded same treatment at minimal additional $cost & Logistics.
      2)… why not use Pulau Ubin & Ll other Govt planned Centres, which are now very little used?

    • Goh Soon Seng

      I applaud the government’s initiative. Nowhere else in the world will you find such arrangements made for citizens. 4/5 stars hotels definitely a morale booster for them. If I or my folks were quarantined I too would welcome such an initiative.

    • L B Tan

      Some Singaporeans do not have the appreciation for the full extent of the COVID 19 destruction if we don’t contain the imported cases & keep lots of Singaporeans gainfully employed in the hospitality industry running barely below 20% occupancy. In San Francisco, the Mayor has ordered the homeless to moved into shelter & moved those tested positive to isolate in hotels. The 300,000 Malaysians working here are getting daily allowance to stay here in Singapore. Most have resort to staying in budget hotels at temporary housing option. Returning students & Singaporeans totaling 200,000 are responsible for most of imported cases if not managed well will lead to a major public health crisis similar to NYC & Italy. Our hospitals will be overwhelmed. The Hotel SHN idea does both, keeping the imported cases under tight checks and at the same time, keep many our fellow Singaporeans in their hotel jobs while combat this contagious virus

    • Roland Chong K M

      I find the reasoning ridiculous! Remember the objective – to isolate for 14 days. Why are these group of Singaporeans are given special previlleges?
      Given that the sole objective is to isolate the returnees, the ministry should provide the basic needs of accommodations eg budget hotels or 3-stars hotels at the very most, and gives the option to upgrade at their own expense. In other words, meet the basic needs and if anyone wants to have the added luxurious environment and treatments, they then pay the difference in price.
      The 3-stars hotels have what it takes to satisfy all the basic requirements, including air-conditioning and a land line telephone that can be used for activation anytime. What other suite of service is needed? Remember the objective.
      Image of the nation? The current utilization of the 4/5 stars hotels, using tax payers hard earned money has given the public a very negative perception. Why the need for such luxury? And only to these selected group of people?
      The decision made is totally unjust and unjustified.

      • Goh Soon Seng

        Roland Chong, If you or your loved ones are amongst this group of SHN folks, you wouldn’t be so noble to opt for cheaper accommodations.
        You would be screaming bloody hell that the government doesn’t take care of you if you or your loved ones on SHN would have to live the 14 days in cheaper and less comfortable hotels.
        Be careful what you wish for, they always warn us.

        • Roland Chong K M

          Soon Seng,
          The fact that the govt is already providing a decent, comfortable, air-conditioning, 3 meals a day, bed, ensuite bathroom, TV should be more than sufficient and we’ll appreciated.
          And the option can be granted to anyone who wants an upgrade from their own pockets.
          This luxurious option should not be the 1st option…..

          • Lim

            I agree that the luxurious option should not be the first option. they can always upgrade if they want to and the government should not spend taxpayer’s money. a 3 star accommodation is more than enough. and if they do it only for selected groups of people that make the situation more unjustifiable. we stand by our leaders’ decision only if it makes sense, otherwise the leaders should explain and be able to stand up to healthy debate and criticism.

    • Gloria loh

      It is not for me to agree or disagree. We should just stand by the decision of our leaders.

    • Mah Mew Leng

      Salute to our Government taking such responsibility effort to bring back our Singaporeans and make sure they are in good hand serving the SHN in those 5 * hotels!

    • Sally

      This seems inaccurate. Only residents arriving from USA and UK are being made to serve the SHN in dedicated facilities aka hotels. The rest can serve it at their own residence. Just checked the MOH website to confirm this (29th Mar 2020).

    • Goh Soon Seng

      If you or your loved ones are amongst this group of SHN folks, you wouldn’t be so noble as to pay your own expenses to save tax payers money.
      You would be screaming bloody hell that the government doesn’t take care of you if you have to fork out your own money.
      Be careful what you wish for, they always warn us.

    • Roland Chong K M

      Soon Seng,
      The fact that the govt is already providing a decent, comfortable, air-conditioning, 3 meals a day, bed, ensuite bathroom, TV should be more than sufficient and we’ll appreciated.
      And the option can be granted to anyone who wants an upgrade from their own pockets.
      This luxurious option should not be the 1st option…..

      • Budget

        Hi, 3 star hotels are booked up by Malaysians who work here, which makes sense since they will stay long term right? Five star hotels would be empty

    • Chy

      I’m currently serving my Stay Home Notice at my own residence, where I was probably the earliest batch of returning Singaporeans, so this 5*hotel thing, wasn’t in place yet. When I was overseas, the rule took place and therefore cut short my trip to return back to Singapore & start serving my notice. Tomorrow would be my 14th day.

      I have to say, this expense by the government is totally unnecessary for the recent batch of returning travellers. As Roland Chong mentioned, basic accommodations would suffice. I could understand that wherever they flew/came back from, more likely had higher cases of CoVid-19 than us referring the escalating numbers from most countries. Thus the stricter control to even isolate them from local family members.

      If this is to generate revenue to hospitality industry, it is doing a good job by pumping in government’s cashflow into booking these luxury hotels. Im suspecting government bodies would have shares in these hotels, therefore they’re part of the ‘saving 2 birds with one stone’ plan? Save the hotels, through saving people.

      Otherwise, small, struggling boutique hotels could also use goverment’s generosity in booking them up in such tough times.

      I did my Stay Home Notice for 14 days at home just fine. If I were given a luxury place to stay, i’ll feel guilty this much money had been used to house me for 14 days, when this huge contribution could be made where it is needed most.

    • Malaysia: Pay your own hotel bills!

      At least Malaysia is doing the right thing by demanding that people who choose to quarantine or isolate themselves at hotels should foot their own hotel bills! https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/03/30/pay-if-you-chose-hotel-to-self-quarantine-says-minister/

    • Randy

      Hi there, can I check if this applies to PR as well. We are curious about SHN how will they rules of check-in works ,is it that we need to book first or gov will provide us stay and will it be cover. If not what will the budget of usage look like.

    • Chua134

      Wah so good get free staycation but its sad they cant go down to enjoy the breakfast and they have to eat from their room

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