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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Singapore’s 'Business Bubble'

AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim, File
FILE - In this June 30, 2020, file photo, people are dwarfed against the financial skyline as they take photos of the Merlion statue along the Marina Bay area in Singapore.

It’s been a week of progress in the distribution of vaccines for the coronavirus. But some locations are already looking ahead to the possibility of increased travel. And in some cases, even before vaccines are widely available. 

They’re calling it a “business bubble.” It’s the latest idea Singapore’s government has to boost the local economy while protecting public safety.

Starting early next year, the plan will let business travelers come to the country for a short stay, skip quarantine entirely and still have their meetings.

The key is an unusual form of isolation.

It starts at the airport, where executives will go through a special passenger lane and then straight to a facility about five minutes away where they’ll stay for the length of their visit. The new arrivals can hold meetings there with local business people, but only through floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

Group size for the visitors will be limited to five, and they won’t be able to leave the facilities.

They’ll be tested for COVID regularly during their stay — roughly every other day.

Meals will be delivered — left on shelves outside guest rooms.

The target market for all of this includes multinational companies checking in with employees based in Singapore — as well as small conferences.

The facility will open early next year with nearly 700 guestrooms and about 170 meeting rooms.

Singapore’s government expects strong demand — so that by the middle of next year the number of both guest rooms and meeting rooms will nearly double.

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