SINGAPORE – From refunds to paying for pre-event testing, hotels and wedding venues have been working to help couples adjust to the sudden restrictions announced on Tuesday (May 4th) that went into effect this weekend are.

For weddings this month, Fairmont Singapore will pay the cost of pre-event testing for Covid-19 if couples larger than 50 want to move on, said Kerry Healy, hotel operator’s commercial director for Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, Kerry Healy.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore and Italian Restaurant Monti will also be covering some of the testing costs for weddings this month.

Mandarin Oriental pays 50 percent of the costs and also offers them for weddings in the next month. Food and Beverage Store 1-Group, which Monti manages, has not disclosed what proportion of the cost it will pay.

Other hotels offer refunds for couples who have made full payment for weddings that should have more than 50 people.

That includes the Grand Hyatt Singapore, which reimburses those who made full payment for a 100-person arrangement and instead want to continue their wedding with a reduced guest list of 50, said Ms. June Choong, the hotel’s events director.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore allow couples to downsize their guest list or postpone their wedding without penalty if the venue becomes available, said Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, general manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts.

Since Saturday, the capacity for marriage gatherings and wedding receptions has been reduced from 100 to 50 people without pre-event screening.

The restrictions were imposed until May 30th.

Despite the sudden restrictions, about 70 percent of couples opted for weddings May 8-30, said Accor’s Ms. Healy. Accor is the largest hotel operator here and manages 27 hotels.

1-Group said roughly 60 percent of couples having weddings this month have chosen to stick to their schedules, while the rest are considering postponing. It manages eight wedding venues, including Monti.

Many couples are still deciding if they want more than 50 people in attendance, as pre-event testing could be logistically complex, the hotels and wedding venues said.

Guests may also be reluctant to take the tests, they added.

Some hotels have implemented new regulations so that these tests can be carried out on site.

Mr Viterale said The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts is working with a healthcare provider to list the Fullerton Hotel Singapore as an approved venue for pre-event testing.

The test would cost less than $ 30 per person, he said.

The Sunday Times estimates that most tests cost around $ 50, although they can cost as little as $ 20.

Guests attending weddings at Fairmont Singapore can be dabbed at the Raffles City Convention Center, an official vaccination center near the hotel.

In downtown Raffles, healthcare provider Fullerton Healthcare can conduct pre-event testing for Fairmont before the event, Ms. Healy said.

This takes place shortly before the event. Guests receive the result of the test – a rapid antigen test with a nasal swab – within 30 minutes.

Having a test location close to the venue will help ensure that test requirements are clearly communicated to guests and that test results are closely verified, Ms. Healy added.

Mandarin Oriental also has an on-site facility for pre-event testing. The results can be processed in about 15 minutes, said Kingston Medical Group, which runs the tests at the hotel.

A couple who wanted to be known only as Mr. and Mrs. Leow held their wedding reception in a Chinese restaurant on Saturday.

Their reception, which had been postponed since October last year, was originally planned for 100 people. When the new rules were announced on Tuesday, they had to hurry to make alternative arrangements.

While considering taking tests before the event, some guests were not satisfied with a swab test. In the end, the couple decided to downsize the guest list and hold a reception for 50 people.

The restaurant, whose name they refused to reveal, was unable to offer a refund for the reduced guest list as ingredients had already been ordered for the wedding dinner. However, it offered to deliver the meals to the remaining 50 guests who were unable to attend the wedding.

However, the couple, who work in IT, declined the offer because it would be too logistically complex to coordinate the delivery of groceries.

“While we felt it wasn’t fair not to receive compensation, we felt there was no point arguing about it – we just wanted to move on,” said Ms. Leow, 28.

Additional reporting from Adeline Tan

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