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Istana to reopen grounds to public to mark National Day; first open house since COVID-19 outbreak

Istana to reopen grounds to public to mark National Day; first open house since COVID-19 outbreak

The main building of the Istana. (Photo: The Istana's website)

SINGAPORE: The Istana will welcome visitors for the first time in about 18 months on Aug 1 as it celebrates National Day with an open house, said the President’s Office on Tuesday (Jul 13).

The Istana is typically open to the public on five days each year. Due to COVID-19, however, the grounds have been closed to the public since February last year.

The last scheduled opening on May 13 this year to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa and Labour Day was cancelled after measures were tightened amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

NATIONAL DAY OPEN HOUSE RESERVED FOR THOSE WITH CANCELLED MAY 13 TICKETS

The upcoming open house on Aug 1 is only for ticket holders of the cancelled May event, said the President’s Office in response to queries from CNA.

A total of 4,000 free tickets were allotted for the May open house, a spokesperson said. Those holding on to the tickets may reuse them for the upcoming National Day Istana open house, the spokesperson said.

Entry for ticket holders is spread over four two-hour time slots.

"As we are resuming the Istana Open Houses (IOH) in stages, the number of tickets available for each upcoming IOH will be adjusted over time, based on the prevailing safe management guidelines and Istana’s crowd control situations," the spokesperson said, adding that there are currently no plans to issue more tickets.

READ: Istana cancels May 13 open house amid COVID-19 concerns

NO PERFORMANCES, TOURS

The reopening of the Istana's grounds comes amid the gradual easing of community measures and as Singapore progressively resumes activities safely, said the President’s Office in a media release.

To prevent large groups from gathering, the open house on Aug 1 will not feature items seen in previous events, such as performances, tours, booths and food trucks.

Safe distancing ambassadors will be present to ensure that visitors adhere to COVID-19 measures.

“The Istana seeks visitors’ cooperation and understanding so that the upcoming Istana open house will be a pleasant experience for all,” the President's Office said.

The Istana’s last open house was held on Jan 26, 2020, in celebration of Chinese New Year. Other scheduled open houses for Hari Raya Puasa, National Day and Deepavali were held virtually last year.

Source: CNA/kg

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