So you’ve just touched down in Singapore, cleared immigration and what’s next? Mandatory Stay Home Notice (SHN).
Serving a Stay Home Notice in Singapore may seem scary at first, but this list of things will keep you prepped and primed for your stay. From activities to stave off boredom to HDMI cables to access a variety of content – the 14-day Stay Home Notice (or 7 on some cases) in Singapore may just fly by before you know it.
First things first, what’s a Stay Home Notice in Singapore?
All persons arriving in Singapore, regardless of nationality, are subject to mandatory SHN – which is basically quarantining in an assigned place. Meaning? You are not allowed outside of your room unless you’re heading to your Covid swab test appointment. Don’t worry, food and other necessities will be delivered right to your door, and your loved ones are welcome to send you food packages as well – but no visits! Yeah, SG means *business.
[*Individuals who breach their SHNs may be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 – Stay Orders) Regulations 2020. First-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months or both. Yeah, SG means business. (This explains everything you need to know about SHN rules and regulations.)]
For How Long And Where?
Depending on where you’re coming from, you may be required to stay in a dedicated facility (which are usually assigned hotel rooms) for 14 days. You will be informed of the location upon your arrival. However, if you’re arriving from countries that have been labeled “exceptions”, you may serve a shorter duration at your own homes or not need to serve at all. Consult our handy article for everything you have to know about the latest Covid-19 travel rules.
What to expect when serving a Stay Home Notice in Singapore
We have curated a list of tips and tricks from former SHN individuals (from the “Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information & Experience” Facebook group and some team insiders) that will make your stay a good one.
*Please note that the tips kindly provided by the individuals we consulted vary depending on the hotel one is assigned to. Not all hotels will provide the same amenities. However, these tips may still be useful in one’s preparation.
Check out these tried-and-tested Stay Home Notice (SHN) hacks below!
1. The Mandatories
2. Tech Hacks
3. Staving Off Boredom Hacks
4. Food & Amenities Hacks
5. Words of encouragement from former SHN individuals
Tip #1: The inevitable Covid swab test
The swab is long and administered through the nose. The nurses gently push it far back into each nostril and you might tear up a little. The tip is to relax so there’s little resistance – because tensing up may bring more discomfort!
“The COVID test is not as scary as many make it out to be – a lot of it is sheer exaggeration. It’s true that the swab goes all the way to the back of your nose, but it’s so thin that you barely feel a slight tickle – your eyes might water a bit if you’re more sensitive, but the person administering the test will take note of first-timers doing the test. Do trust that they will do it quickly and gently (the swab stays in your nose for about 15 seconds). The test will happen towards the end of your SHN (around day 10) and you will be notified of the result via phone call.” – Rosie S.
“Some people find it unpleasant (me) and some hardly notice [the discomfort]. Either way it’s 20 seconds. It won’t do you any harm. So no need to stress about it and [the good thing is] at least you get out of the room for a bit. Note that results [are] available via the HealthHub app (for residents) long before you get the results call.” – Rob Welsby
Tip #2: Expect complete isolation
Unless you’re arriving as a couple or family, you will be isolated alone in a single room. (Though some hotels may issue connecting rooms for family members.) Visits aren’t allowed either for safety purposes but friends and family are welcome to drop off food or other items at the front desk of the hotel. Food and drinks will be provided by the hotel but if they’re not to your taste, feel free to order in from any food delivery apps. (Read on for some recommendations!)
Tip #3: Frequent check-ins from government officials
Officers from the International Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will contact individuals regularly to ensure that all are staying in their assigned locations. In most cases, the ICA officers will contact SHN individuals via a WhatsApp video call, or conduct room-to-room physical check-ins.
“Staff from the ICA will call you twice daily to verify your identity and location; they will request that you to turn on your video camera briefly to verify you are in your room. For those without a local number, you can expect the people from ICA showing up at your door every other day in addition to the calls. This may start to feel annoying, but try to bear with them – the checks are very brief and they are polite about it!” – Rosie S.
With that, beware of spoof calls from unknown numbers. Do note that you are not required to divulge any personal information – including your full name or identification number – unless they are calling from legitimate government sources like the ICA. Even so, it’s always good to be wary and clarify whenever in doubt.
Extra tip: How to identify a spoof call? It’s all in the caller ID. Be wary about receiving calls with a “+” prefix (unless, of course, you are expecting an overseas call). Singapore-registered phone numbers do not have a “+” or “+65” prefix in the caller ID. If you do come across a caller with odd numerical prefixes, it’s always a good idea to be cautious or ignore it altogether.
Tip #1: Bring an HDMI cable to take your shows to the big screen
Not all hotels will have access to cable TV or streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. So make sure to bring your own! (Tip? Consider downloading these Netflix-friendly VPNs to gain access to some of your favourite shows.) And, if you’re getting bored of watching the same old re-runs? Read our list of awesome shows to watch during quarantine.
“Hotel TV will be very limited. Make sure you load up your laptop/iPad/streaming stick with your usual apps and set up VPNs as required. Bring an HDMI cable and whatever adapters you need.” – Rob Welbsy
“I wish I brought an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to the TV. [The Festive Hotel] they do not have smartTV. [Alternatively, you can] bring Google Chromecast.” – Ava Lee
Tip #2: Check that all appliances are working!
While hotel staffs do their best to ensure all individuals have a safe and pleasant stay, some things can fall through the cracks at times. Do check that all electronic appliances – air-condition, TV, electric kettle, mini-fridge, etc. – are in working condition. You can request to have them changed if they’re found faulty.
“[Upon reaching your assigned location], before you unpack, make sure [to check that] all appliances work well (e.g. tiny fridge, TV) and also check if the WiFi works. [In] my first room [at the Festive Hotel], all those things didn’t work and I requested for a room change.” – Ava Lee
Tip #3: Bring the right power adapters
Singapore uses a Type G Power Plug for nearly all electrical appliances. If you do not have one, consider getting a Universal Adapter for a fuss-free experience.
14 days is a long time if you’re completely isolated. Check out some cool things fellow SHN-stayers did below to make the days go by faster, or, peruse our list of 30 things you can do to pass time.
Tip #1: Establish a routine
Establishing a daily routine may help to keep you feeling in control of your environment, and thus reduce feelings of anxiety that may arise due to prolonged confinement.
“My husband and I got up the same time every day. I would begin my day with some exercise. I then split the day up into hours…reading, painting, listening to podcasts etc. I also walked around the room A LOT. I managed to “travel” over 50 miles during the two-week stay, walking 10K steps every day! Also, the iPhone Pacer app is great for tracking steps.” – Rachael Louise
Tip #2: Bring with you a slice of home
“I brought a little whiteboard that we wrote our countdown on. I wrote stuff like, ‘happy quarantining…14 days to go’ and we changed this each day. I also packed some fairy lights…to make the room look and feel cozy. It really brightened my mood.” – Rachael Louise
Tip #3: Bring a second computer screen…if you’re intending to WFH
“I was working during the week which really helped pass the time. We got a friend to bring my second screen from home which made a huge difference.” – Rob Welsby
Tip #4: Bring simple exercise equipment
…and kick-start your fitness goals! Getting that heart pumping and sweat rolling is useful in staving off cabin fever, especially when you’re in a confined space. Here are a bunch of handy home items that double-up as workout equipment. Need a little motivation? These home workout and fitness applications will probably be your trusty workout buddy throughout your stay. Alternatively,
“[…] bring (or get dropped off) basic weights, mats, etc. YouTube is your friend.” – Rob Welsby
Tip #5: Come up with fun (and unique) activities with the things around you
If you’ve ran out of things to do, these interesting hacks below are so fresh, it’s worth trying.
1. Build your own bowling alley
“I noticed I had lots of empty plastic bottles from The Ritz Carlton so I thought why not build my own “bowling alley” since I have the things needed to build it? (Yoga mat as the lane, bottles as the pins and Pringles as balls). Plus, I have the perfect scenery as the backdrop, so why not?” – Olivia Victoriana
2. Keep a 14-day diary (physical or online)
3. Treat yourself to your own spa or host online parties
“If your room has a bathtub, get someone to drop off some bath salts and bombs for a good TLC time. Also, another good self-care hack: video call your friends and family and conduct online booze parties!” – Faberlyn Chiam
Tip #1: Bring necessities you might need more of
“Amenities are very limited here at Festive Hotel. They [gave] only one cup (and gave me extra paper cups when I asked for more). No wine opener as well. It’s not the usual amenities you’d expect to get in five star hotels, so, bring as much as you need. Also, ask for slippers if they don’t already provide.”
– Ava Lee
“Prepare enough clothes because laundry fees are chargeable for some hotels.” – Faberlyn Chiam
“[Some tips of must-brings you may want to bring along include] small towelettes; extra linen/pillow spray; instant foods that only require hot water; extra cutleries like plates, bowls, a knife to cut up fruits and veggies if you need; instant coffee or teabags; a Bluetooth speaker; microwave (as required); sponges/dishwashing product; kitchen paper rolls and laundry products.” – Sarah Dulyere
Tip #2: You can have friends or family deliver items to you!
“If you have friends or family here, ask them to bring food/alcohol to you for an occasional change. If you are new here, there are loads of delivery options.” – Rob Welsby
- Grab Food
- WhyQ (for hawker centre foods)
- Grab Mart
If you’re concerned about sanitary with your food orders, here are some quick safety tips for food delivery and orders.
“Treat your SHN like a staycation. Prepare your favourite things like cosy clothes, favourite books, shows etc. especially since you’re staying at a hotel. Two weeks in a room may sound miserable but it doesn’t have to be!” – Rosie S.
“Remember that a large part of the reason Singapore has so few cases in the community now, and is slowly lifting measures while many other countries go back into lockdown, is [because] people entering the country are quarantined. When you get out, you can [still] meet friends, go to pubs and restaurants.” – Rob Welsby
“Throughout my whole experience, I felt like everyone here wants to look after you and keep you safe and each stage of the process. It really isn’t as scary or unbearable as your mind lets you believe. Wishing [everyone serving SHNs] the very best of luck and please remember to be kind to yourselves in these interesting times!” – Rachael Louise
*Note: SHN official information is compiled from government agencies (International Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH)). All SHN tips and experiences quoted are kindly provided (with permission) by former SHN individuals credited from the “Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information & Experience” Facebook group and from friends of The Finder.
By Willaine G. Tan, November 2020. Images: 123RF.com
More on The Finder:
How To Travel To Singapore DURING The Covid-19 Pandemic
28 AWESOME Things To Watch From HOME During Singapore’s Covid-19 Circuit Breaker
6 VPNs You Can Use In Singapore To UNBLOCK Netflix For Your Next Binge-Watching Sessions
10 BEST Fitness Apps To Help You WORK OUT From Home With EASE
6 SAFETY Tips For Food Delivery And Takeaway During The Covid-19 Outbreak In Singapore
True Story: What It Was Like Having Covid-19 in Singapore