SINGAPORE: The Istana open house event on Aug 1 will be postponed to a later date, after the announcement that Singapore will return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) on Thursday (Jul 22).
The President’s Office announced on Jul 13 that the Istana would open on Aug 1 – the first time it would have welcomed visitors in about 18 months – as it celebrates National Day.
“We apologise for any inconveniences caused,” said the President’s Office on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force announced tightened COVID-19 measures, including smaller group sizes to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) is set to run from Thursday to Aug 18.
The Istana is typically open to the public on five days each year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grounds have been closed to the public since February last year.
A scheduled opening of the Istana 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.
The open house on Aug 1 was only for ticket holders of the cancelled May event, the President’s Office said last week in response to CNA’s queries.
A total of 4,000 free tickets were allotted for the May open house, a spokesperson said.
NATIONAL DAY PARADE TO GO AHEAD
This year’s National Day Parade will continue as planned for now, but the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is reviewing the scale of the event and other measures, co-chair of the COVID-19 task force Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday.
Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, said MINDEF will provide updates later.
“National Day is an important national event, especially that it is not just any other occasion. So as of now, we do intend to continue with a National Day Parade,” he added.