Dive resorts can operate under GCQ, MGCQ
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has decided that beach and dive areas identified by the Department of Tourism (DOT) may be allowed to accept recreational divers, although these guests must also come from areas under GCQ or of lower quarantine status.
STAR/ File
Dive resorts can operate under GCQ, MGCQ
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Diving establishments in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ, such as those in Batangas, may now accept recreational divers as guests.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has decided that beach and dive areas identified by the Department of Tourism (DOT) may be allowed to accept recreational divers, although these guests must also come from areas under GCQ or of lower quarantine status.

“The DOT shall issue the necessary guidelines in coordination and consultation with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police and the identified local government units,” the IATF said in the Resolution 78 it adopted last Thursday.

This developed as the government shifts the implementation of the National Action Plan to jumpstarting the economy, balancing health protocols and the possibility of imposing granular lockdowns in case of local outbreaks of COVID-19.

To ensure that many Filipinos will be equipped and trained for new abilities amid the pandemic, the IATF also eased the restrictions on the conduct of training at the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It also allowed face-to-face trainings.

“This forms part of our assistance to workers who already have employment opportunities,” the IATF said.

The trainings and assessments are for domestic work, caregiving, housekeeping and ship catering.

Meanwhile, three more hotels in Metro Manila have been authorized to operate for staycation purposes, the National Capital Region (NCR) unit of the DOT said yesterday. This brings the total number of hotels allowed to operate to eight.

Given yesterday the Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (CAOS) are the EDSA Shangri-la, Joy NostalG Hotel and Suite Manila and the Solaire Resort. The same certificate was earlier given to the Grand Hyatt, Makati Shangri-la, Nobu Hotel, Shangri-la at the Fort and Okada Manila.

This came after Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat recently signed the administrative order on the amended guidelines on the operations of accommodation establishments for staycation purposes under GCQ.

Under the guidelines, all accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under GCQ must secure CAOS from the DOT prior to accommodating guests for staycation. Guests of all ages, except those with underlying medical conditions or are pregnant, will be allowed to go on a staycation.

“A staycation guest shall be required to present a negative test result from a Rapid Antigen Test conducted on the same day of check-in,” the DOT said earlier.

It added that accommodation establishments must follow guidelines on guest handling, including the maximum number of guests per room, as well as health and safety standards for ancillary establishments. They may also resume operations of ancillary facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets, except for bars, which remain prohibited in GCQ areas.

“As safety remains the DOT’s top priority, establishments that will offer staycation services will be strictly monitored. They will be required to keep a record of occupancy and submit it every 10th of the month to the relevant DOT regional office and local government unit (LGU) tourism office for data analysis purposes,” Puyat said earlier.

The guidelines also stress that contactless and cashless transactions for taking bookings and payments are mandatory to promote minimal physical contact among staff and guests.

Establishments must also adhere to other issuances on health and safety standards from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Department of Health (DOH) as well as rules and regulations imposed by the LGU concerned.

Puyat earlier welcomed the decision of the IATF to permit staycations or a minimum of an overnight stay for leisure purposes in GCQ areas.

“This decision adds to the DOT’s drive to slowly but safely resume tourism in the country and finally bring back jobs to our workers in the industry,” she said. – Catherine Talavera

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