Istana main building will open to public on May 7 for first time since onset of Covid-19, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Istana main building will open to public on May 7 for first time since onset of Covid-19

The Istana's main building will open to the public on May 7 for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The open house will be held to mark both Labour Day and Hari Raya Puasa, which fall on May 1 and May 3 respectively.

All visitors to the Istana will need to apply for tickets in advance, capped at five each, the President's Office said in a statement on Thursday (April 21).

Applicants will have to choose a two-hour time slot starting at 9am, 11am, 1pm or 3pm. If tickets are oversubscribed, they will be allocated via an electronic balloting system. Apply for tickets here online from 10am on Monday (April 25) to 10am on Tuesday.

Admission to the Istana grounds is free. Visitors can purchase admission passes for the main building during their time slot, costing $2 for Singaporeans and permanent residents aged four and above. Entry is free for children below four. It was last open to the public on Jan 26, 2020.

"Visitors can visit selected function rooms and have the opportunity to view a collection of state gifts as well as the room set-ups for state events," the statement said.

There will be no performances, tours or food trucks at the open house, but there will be merchandise booths selling limited-edition Istana souvenirs and President's Challenge souvenirs.

All fees and proceeds collected will go towards charities supported by the President's Challenge.

Visitors will be required to keep their masks on at all times when indoors. Safe distancing ambassadors will help to ensure that visitors observe safe management measures, the statement added.

The previous open house in February, held in celebration of the Chinese New Year, drew around 3,000 visitors.

About 2,000 people visited the Istana grounds on Nov 4 last year for the Deepavali open house.