Singapore has opened a new facility - Connect@Changi – aimed at resuming international business meetings hosted at the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic while containing the spread of community transmissions.

Located at Singapore EXPO & Max Atria (5 minute drive from Changi Airport), the new pilot facility was opened on February 18. It will allow business, official, and high economic value travelers to come to Singapore starting March without the need to quarantine.

The new facility offers all-in-one businss short stay rooms, meeting facilities, and food and beverage options within a gross floor area of around 72,500 square meters. Its first phase will hold 150 rooms and 40 meeting rooms with a 22 person capacity. Future expansion will allow the facility to accommodate 1,300 business travelers.

The project is a collaboration between Temasek Holdings, The Ascott Limited, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx-Sphere Holdings and Surbana Jurong.

Business travelers who book their stay at the facility will take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival and on days three, seven, and 14 of their stay. The maximum stay at the facility is 14 days.

According to the FAQ on the Connect@Changi website, the room-rates will include a two-way airport transfer. Travelers staying at the facility will not be able to leave the area.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based visitors will not have to undergo testing and there will be separate entrances, exits, and ventillation systems for foreign travelers and local visitors.

During the launch of Connect@Changi, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat noted that while virtual meetings have become more a norm during the pandemic, face-to-face interactions can not be fully replaced.

"For some, physical meetings are still important for securing and closing business deals, and making important decisions," Heng said.

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