Singapore—International luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler called Singapore’s Covid-19 response “a model for others” in an online article published on Tuesday, September 8. The article will also appear in the magazine’s print issue next month.
The reason the accolade was given by Condé Nast Traveler is for the government’s SG Clean initiative, which began in February and seeks to have businesses and establishments meet a particular set of hygiene and safety standards through issuing certifications to those that comply.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, this is necessary for Singapore, given its reliance on tourism as a source of revenue, as well as its status as a global transport and logistics hub linking 120 countries on six continents.
The SG Clean “seal of approval” is given to companies spanning a wide variety of sectors, from preschools to hawker centers to shopping malls to hotels, transport modes, and even government-occupied premises.
Condé Nast Traveler says “It includes a seven-point system of common sense mandates like keeping your spaces tidy and making sure guests aren’t sick before they settle in (hence the temperature checks), in addition to creating the new role of SG Clean Ambassador at all businesses,” and likens the SG Clean sticker to “a Zagat rating seal.”
Zagat is a system of ratings and reviews that reached its popularity in the mid 2000s in the US when it covered hotels, restaurants and other establishments in 70 cities.
And, because Singapore is heavily dependent on the travel and tourism sectors which are badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government stepped up efforts to ensure that these sectors will bounce back as quickly as possible, spending “a fortune (officials will not say exactly how much) over the past months to pioneer a slate of Covid19 responsiveness measures that are perhaps the most rigorous in the world,” according to Condé Nast Traveler.
The article quotes the CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board, Keith Tan, as saying that the goal of these measures is to address the pandemic’s “disruptive and lasting impact on travel behavior. These responses are intended to help Singapore rebound as quickly as possible.”
The SG Clean initiative has been emulated in other parts of the globe, including in Portugal, another country that leans heavily on tourism. In April, Portugal began its Clean & Safe initiative. And by June, Abu Dhabi started a Go Safe certification scheme.
In Singapore, over 16,000 establishments have signed up for the SG Clean certification so far.
The article quotes Frank Shen, the co-owner of restaurant Laut, located in the Central Business District, as saying, “If we don’t take COVID-19 seriously and something happens, business will become unsustainable and the livelihood of our employees will be at risk.”
Business owners seem to realize that compliance with SG Clean protects their employees.
“Getting certified is extra work on our part, but it helps us protect our employees’ rice bowl and creates a safe space for customers,” added Mr Shen. —/TISG