9 Lesser-Known Phase 2 Heightened Alert Changes You Might Not Know Even If You Keep Up To Date On News

Phase 2 Heightened Alert changes

In just a blink of an eye, 16th May 2021 has passed and we’re now in the midst of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). The social distancing limit dropped like a hot potato from eight to five, and then to two, and most of us are back on WFH arrangements – a throwback to this time last year that no one asked for. 

But that aside, some lesser-known changes have kicked in as well, from updated staycation regulations to the pause of all GrabHitch services. Below are nine changes you might have missed out on with the new Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions. 

1. Free Antigen Rapid Testing (ART) on top of swab test for those with symptoms

Image credit: International Medical Clinic

By now, most of us are familiar with the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test – a.k.a. swab test, or the one where pokey long cotton buds go up your nose.

They’re pretty speedy, with results delivered in about a day. But for quicker detection of possible cases, an additional government-funded Antigen Rapid Testing (ART) will be done for every patient visiting the following healthcare facility with Covid-19 symptoms:

  • Polyclinics
  • Emergency Departments and Regional Swab Centres (RSCs)
  • Swab and Send Home (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs)

The ART is less accurate than the usual PCR swab test, but it has a much quicker turnaround time – some clinics can give you results as quick as 20-30 minutes!

2. Masks have to be worn during workouts at gyms and fitness studios

You probably have heard the news that not all gyms and fitness studios are closed during this period. Those that offer low-intensity workouts like yoga, tai chi and pilates have been allowed to continue, albeit with tighter safe distancing measures. So have selected high-intensity workout sessions – such as spin classes – that have been shifted outdoors.

Before you say “sign me up!”, there’s a caveat to note. During Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), masks have to be worn at all times, even during your workout. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing rock climbing*, spin or yoga. Sharing of equipment should be avoided as well. 

To check if your favourite gym is open as usual, you can either look through Sport Singapore’s guidance sheet, or contact your gym to find out more.

* High walls are still open but bouldering walls are now closed till 30th May 2021.

Alternatively, you can check out these at-home workout resources:

3. SingapoRediscovers Vouchers are now refundable for staycays

If you’ve booked a staycation using your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRVs) for the upcoming weeks, here’s some good news: SRVs are now refundable for staycation bookings

Klook, for example, is now offering the option of cancellations with full refunds, even if you’ve booked using your SRVs. However, the process might take up to 1.5 months. Alternatives include rescheduling your stay or proceeding with your booking with the tightened measures.

If you’ve made a tour or attraction booking instead, your SRVs likely won’t be refundable but you can still choose to reschedule your visit for a later date. Check your email inbox for updates from the booking partner or merchant – they should have already reached out, or would be reaching out soon!

4. Hotel staycay capacity is now two unless you’re from the same household

No more than two people are allowed to gather in a hotel room in a single day – that, most of us already know. But there’s an exception to note if you’ve got an upcoming staycay planned. 

If you’re going for a staycation with the family, a slightly different set of rules apply. As long as you are from the same household – meaning the same address on the NRIC – the room’s usual maximum capacity applies instead. You can find this max occupancy on the hotel’s website, or by dropping their service desk a call.

However, families cannot leave the room in groups of more than two at a time. Additionally, hotel restaurants won’t be open for dine-in, but takeaways and room services are still available. 

5. GrabHitch unavailable until 13th June 2021

Take a seat before you read this next one. *Breathes*. Here we go. 

From now till 13th June 2021, LTA has announced that all forms of commercial car-poolings will be put on hold. So if you’ve been relying on GrabHitch or RydePool for that affordable ride around Singapore, it’s time to look for an alternative. 

On the bright side, non-commercial carpooling trips can still continue, with a maximum group size of two. Taxis and the usual JustGrab and GrabCar are still available as well, with a maximum capacity of two passengers, unless you’re from the same household.

Check out the details of LTA’s latest measures.

6. No more facials and saunas, but massages can go on

Spas and saunas are a great way to unwind after a long week of work. If you frequent these spots, the rule of thumb to note now is that any service that requires you to remove your mask is a no-go. Spas, facials and saunas are out of the picture, but massages, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) services and hair salons are still very much open.

Exceptions to this rule are medical and dental services – so no worries about those monthly braces appointments or visits to your aligner orthodontists.

7. Home-based businesses to operate on a contactless delivery model

Image credit: Eatbook 

We say hello once again to online bakers and Instagram crafters. Home-based businesses are expected to pick up this period – only this time around, they’re supposed to only provide contactless delivery and collection. So don’t take offence if the business owner doesn’t stick around to chat – it’s just protocol! 

8. Surge in delivery and takeaway promotions

Image credit: Eatbook

While many things seem to be going on a downward spiral, there are some silver linings. For customers, this includes the surge in delivery and takeaway promotions

GrabFood, foodpanda and Deliveroo promo codes aside, there are also plenty of eateries and restaurants holding individual promotions. Below are some that offer islandwide delivery, just to name a few:

9. One month rental waiver for hawker stores and coffee shop tenants

There’s no better place to find a good plate of chicken rice or hokkien mee than our beloved hawker centres. You may be glad to know that the government is providing a one-month rental waiver for hawker stores and coffee shop tenants of government agencies.

They have urged commercial landlords to support their F&B tenants during this period, so hopefully, some of our favourite food haunts won’t take such a hard hit.

If you’re in the F&B industry, here’s some extra reassurance. Support rates for local employees will increase to 50% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly income under the updated Job Support Scheme, so there’s a little less to worry about regarding job security.

Lesser-known changes in Phase 2 (Heightened Alerts)

Now that you’re in the know, you won’t be in for a shocker the next time you order a baked cheesecake off Instagram, or try to book a GrabHitch. Besides that, always remember to play it safe by staying indoors and limiting your social interactions as much as possible. We’ve been through this once before, and we can do it again.

More similar content to get you through this Phase 2 rebound:

Cover image adapted from: TheSmartLocal

Kezia Tan

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