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Businesses improve contingency plans in case haze returns

Singapore seems to have been spared the brunt of the haze so far. But businesses, especially those with outdoor operations, are busy preparing themselves for the worst.

SINGAPORE: Singapore seems to have been spared the brunt of the haze so far.

But businesses, especially those with outdoor operations, are busy preparing themselves for the worst.

This is because many of them, even those with crisis management plans, were hit by the severity of the haze last year.

Orchard Hotel is one of many hotels that have stepped up their preparations to deal with the haze.

It has air purifiers on standby for guests if they require it, as well as facemasks available on demand.

The hotel said last year's haze affected staff and operations the most, but it remained confident in its business continuity plans if the smog returns.

Riaz Mahmood, general manager of Orchard Hotel Singapore, said: "In spite of our best laid plans, challenges will arise and I do still see some of our employees, particularly those with respiratory issues, may find it difficult coming to work. So we will have to double up on our staffing and everything else because this is a very busy hotel.

“From a business standpoint, I do not envisage too many room cancellations. There might be the odd one here and there with the delayed flights.

"From a food and beverage perspective, I actually look forward to the business levels increasing because the people are already in-housed and because of the haze they probably won't go out. They will eat in the hotel and we will also have some programmes to encourage them to use our outlets."

Major tourist attraction Sentosa believes that having a plan which is resilient and adaptable is important to deal with all eventualities.

Koh Piak Huat, divisional director for operations at Sentosa Leisure Management, said: "Last year, when the haze hit us… in the interests of the safety of the guests and the staff, we had actually cancelled a few shows, such as the Song of the Sea.

"We also we had to make some adjustments for those in outdoor critical areas, we had to ask the staff to reduce their exposure time in outdoor activities.

“But I must say that the transition was pretty smooth because we had a resilient framework, which we had been exercising… based on the full pandemic plan, so for us it was the adaptation of the plan put into practice."

Since last year, Sentosa has expanded security camera coverage across the island, which enables it to monitor the environment and respond to emergencies quickly. 

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