TOURISM Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has ordered a stricter monitoring of staycation hotels and other accommodation establishments (AEs) following its reopening in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas.
Staycation hotels and AEs are allowed to operate at 30% of venue capacity under strict health and safety guidelines.
Based on Resolution 117, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF –EID) approved the request of the Department of Tourism (DOT) for DOT-Accredited AEs in GCQ areas to accept leisure guests.
Previously, under the IATF-EID Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, AEs may not accommodate guests for leisure purposes, except those that have been issued a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation (CAOS).
The IATF-EID resolution will also no longer require guests to undergo a COVID-19 test following the recommendation of health experts that strict symptoms screening and observance of minimum public health standards are sufficient measures for staycation guests.
“We welcome the IATF’s decision to allow DOT-Accredited Accommodation Establishments in GCQ areas to accept guests for leisure. This will contribute to the return of livelihood and jobs that were lost during the pandemic,” Puyat said.
Based on the IATF Resolution No. 117, AEs in areas under GCQ may accept bookings provided that guests will come from the same household, and only up to 30% of the venue capacity.
“While we understand that strict health and safety protocols need to remain in place, DOT is happy with this development. This will bring back significant revenue especially to small hotels and private resorts in GCQ areas during the summer season. We continue to issue the reminder that the safety of guests, residents and host communities should never be compromised,” she stressed.
In areas under Modified GCQ (MGCQ), AEs may accommodate leisure guests without the same-household requirement and without restriction as to the venue capacity, provided that minimum public health standards are observed.
However, Puyat stressed that in all cases, the IATF age restrictions will be strictly observed; only guests aged 18 to 65 years old will be allowed to check in.
“We would have wanted to allow guests of all ages to be accommodated, knowing that when Filipinos go on vacation, we travel as a family. However, in every decision concerning the safe resumption of tourism during this pandemic, the DOT always puts premium to what our health experts recommend,” said Puyat.
The tourism chief reiterated that isolation or quarantine hotels are not allowed to accommodate leisure or staycation guests. The IATF resolution likewise states that the local government units with jurisdiction over the AEs shall strictly monitor their compliance with minimum public health standards.