Singapore mulls region-free business travel pass for senior executives

SENIOR executives in Singapore who need to travel regularly for official purposes may be able to get a business travel pass under a pilot programme, the Singapore authorities said on Wednesday as they announced a gradual easing of measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, said of the travel pass during a virtual press conference: "The idea is to be able to allow senior executives who are based in Singapore with extensive regional or international responsibilities to have a bit more flexibility to travel for work reasons."

The pass will allow the person to go to "quite a wide range of countries", he said, adding that it will not be country-specific.

Upon returning to Singapore, such travellers will be able to opt for a Covid-19 test instead of serving the currently mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice, he said.

"But of course, these travellers will have to comply with whatever travel restrictions that are in place in that country that they are visiting. Either the national measures or, if we have reciprocal green-lane bilateral measures, then these would apply," he said, adding that the travel pass cannot supersede these restrictions.

More details are expected to be announced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, he added.

While working from home should remain the default mode of working, Mr Wong said the authorities are allowing more employees to return to the workplace, with safe-management measures in place from Sept 28.

However, employers must fulfil two conditions in doing so. One is that such employees must continue to work from home for at least half their working time; the other is that no more than half of such employees should be at the workplace at any point in time, the minister said.

Meanwhile, work-related events within the workplace, such as conferences, seminars, corporate retreats and annual general meetings, will be allowed to resume.

However, employers will still not be allowed to organise large-scale social gatherings such as team-bonding activities or dinner-and-dance events.

The rules that restrict the number of attendees at marriage solemnisations and wedding receptions to 50 will be lifted from Oct 3, to allow up to 100 attendees at these events.

The authorities are also expanding the capacity to 100 for worship services for all religious organisations from Oct 3.