Hotels may soon be allowed to accept more guests – DOT

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020   •   900

MANILA, Philippines – Hotels in areas classified under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ will soon be allowed to accept guests at full capacity in a bid to help the tourism industry recover from the effects of the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has given the authority to the DOT to determine the allowable operational capacity for hotels, including those that offer staycations.

Puyat, however, stressed that the decision to open at 100% capacity will be up to the hotel management and subject to compliance with safety guidelines.

The announcement follows the issuance last week of an IATF resolution which amends the provision that only allows establishments in GCQ areas to operate with a skeleton work force.

For accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under MGCQ, Resolution No. 79 provides that the DOT shall determine their allowable operational capacity from the previous provision for a maximum of 50% operational capacity.

Operational capacity is defined by the IATF as such a number of employees who can be permitted to physically report to work on-site.

“Also approved in the said resolution is the easing up of interzonal and intrazonal movement, which is the predicate to reviving domestic tourism,” Puyat said.

“Along with this comes the need to ready the whole tourism value chain, which includes the accommodation, transportation, and tour operation sectors. Allowing the accommodation sector to operate at full capacity will be most welcomed by tourism’s workforce that has been greatly affected since the community lockdown,” she added.

The DOT is set to issue guidelines for the expanded operational capacity of hotels, she further stated.

Puyat earlier directed all hotels and other tourism establishments in GCQ areas to secure a DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (DCAOS) prior to accommodating any guests for that purpose.

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

IATF allows arcades, cinemas and other businesses to reopen in GCQ areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the reopening of more businesses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the reopening and further expansion of the following businesses/industries:

  • Driving schools
  • Traditional cinemas
  • Video and interactive-game arcades
  • Libraries 
  • Archives
  • Museums and cultural centers

The conduct of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and limited social events at credited establishments of the Department of Tourism have also been allowed.

The IATF approved the new policy during its 99th meeting on Thursday, February 11, as authorities sought to boost the country’s economy battered by the pandemic.

“Also approved is the reopening of limited tourist attractions, such as parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks,” Roque said.

He stressed that the reopening and further expansion of businesses/industries “shall be subject to the issuance of the implementing guidelines which will provide for the operational capacity, and oversight of the appropriate regulatory agency and the concerned local government units where these businesses/industries are located.”

“These businesses/industries shall comply with the strict observance of minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health,” Roque added.

Metro Manila is under GCQ for the month of February, as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, the loosest quarantine restriction level.

IATF allows 50% seating capacity for religious gatherings in GCQ areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has relaxed the restrictions on mass gatherings for religious activities in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will allow up to 50 percent seating or venue capacity for religious gatherings in GCQ areas starting February 15.

The IATF approved the new policy during its 99th meeting on Thursday, February 11, Roque added.

At present, the government allows only up to 30% of venue’s capacity for religious gatherings in GCQ areas as part of the measures to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

Areas under GCQ include Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City.

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