Boracay to reopen to Western Visayas tourists on June 16

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Boracay to reopen to Western Visayas tourists on June 16
In this 2017 file photo, tourists enjoy the white sand beach of Boracay island.
Philstar.com / Rosette Adel, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Starting June 16, tourists from the Western Visayas will be allowed to visit the island of Boracay for leisure purposes.

This was announced by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force on Thursday.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu — Boracay IATF chair — said Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores and Frolibar Bautista, acting mayor of Malay in Aklan, filed a resolution before the task force on Thursday.

“The task force approved the recommendation for the opening of Boracay effective June 16 this year. It will only be applicable to tourists coming from Western Visayas,” Cimatu announced during a virtual press briefing.

Cimatu cited that this covers the provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Capiz and Guimaras.

He added that Aklan locals were already given the privilege to visit Boracay for swimming last June 1.

Tourists below 21 years old and above 60 years old are still not allowed to enter the island for health reasons.

The Boracay IATF decided to gradually open tourism to the country’s top tourist destination as it has been COVID-free for more than a month now. The island has also been placed under moderate general community quarantine, where travel for leisure is allowed.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said amenities and establishments are still required to secure a Certificate of Authority to Operate before resuming business. She added that they just need to send a letter of intent to operate.

Puyat said that establishments must also follow the safety and hygiene guidelines in compliance with the Department of Health and the World Health Organization’s standards.

These include a 'no face mask, no entry' policy, wearing of face shield, physical distancing measures as well as installation of glass panels and the provision of hand sanitizers in hotels.

She added that some private sector groups have donated reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) equipment to ramp up COVID-19 detection on the island.

The task force said carrying capacity is not a concern since only tourists from Western Visayas are allowed for now.

What tourist activities are allowed?

Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing and Puyat said only no-contact sports would be allowed with the implementation of social distancing.

Under the IATF for COVID-19’s omnibus guidelines dated June 3, “indoor and outdoor non-contact sports and other forms of exercise such as but not limited to walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, range shooting, and skateboarding are allowed.”

“Provided, that the minimum public health standards such as the wearing of masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols,and no sharing of equipment,are observed,” it added.

Nightlife on the island will be allowed depending on the curfew guidelines issued by Aklan LGU.

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