According to Singapore Authorities, Singapore and Malaysia are set to open the ground-level border crossing from Monday 29th November in a “Safe and Calibrated Manner.”
Pre-pandemic times, media reports showed more than 300,000 travel movements a day through the “Causeway” recorded between Malaysia and the Island of Singapore.
A program known to Singapore as the Vaccinated travel lane program has been set up to normalize movement within the causeway during COVID-19. The program now allows Causeway crossing to run but at a limited capacity following a given set of rules.
Firstly, all travellers will be required to travel on specified Vaccinated Travel Lane Buses. Secondly, they will be required to be fully vaccinated, permanent residents, or hold long-term passes to whichever country they are traveling to.
In a press release, authorities in Singapore said that the program’s main aim is to prioritize foreign workers in either country to visit their families.
They also aim to expand the program to allow more travellers, including general travellers. However, this would be done while accounting for the public health situation.
In the press release, Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry, expressed sympathy for workers who would not be able to buy bus tickets immediately due to limited availability in the initial phase of the launch.
The two sides noted that they are looking to restore another ground-level crossing known as the Tuas Second Link.
Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsein Loong also added that the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane program was a step in the right direction for reconnecting the two countries.
In pre-pandemic times, Malaysian visitors were a key consumer group for Singapore’s casinos. So, given these new efforts at border reopening, Fitch Ratings stated that Singapore’s casino revenues will most likely recover to about 75% of 2019 levels.