Alert Level 3 in NCR seen to restore tourism jobs as holiday season nears

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Alert Level 3 in NCR seen to restore tourism jobs as holiday season nears
In this Oct. 14, 2020 photo, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat undergoes temperature check in a staycation hotel.
DOT / Released

MANILA, Philippines— Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Thursday lauded the resumption of tourism activities under Alert Level 3, saying eased restrictions would be good for tourism jobs and businesses.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved downgrading the community quarantine status of the National Capital Region (NCR) to Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31, 2021. 

Under the IATF-EID Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Level System for COVID-19 Response in Pilot Areas, dine-in services in restaurants shall be allowed to operate at a maximum of 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only, and 50% outdoor venue capacity for individuals regardless of vaccination status.  

Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) as well as venues for social events such as weddings, parties and family reunions, and tourist attractions such as museums, parks plazas, public gardens and other scenic viewpoints shall also be permitted with the same capacity as restaurants.

The DOT said that the IATF-EID requires that the workers of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and that there is no objection from the local government unit where these activities will take place. 

The Hotel Sales & Marketing Association of the Philippines last week announced that it has recently concluded its COVID-19 vaccination drive, achieving 98% compliance with approximately 15,354 hotel employees from 125 member hotels and resorts around the Philippines.  

Puyat said that establishments permitted to operate under Alert Level 3, such as restaurants, venues for MICE and social events, and tourist attractions, may operate at 30% with an additional 20% capacity.

On the other hand, establishments granted a Safety Seal by the government could have another 10% operational capacity.

The tourism agency said that the Safety Seal certification program of the government was created to ensure that tourism enterprises like hotels, resorts, and other accommodation establishments, as well as tourist attractions, are compliant with the health and safety protocols amid the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, staycations are also allowed at 100% operational capacity under this alert level. However, only fully vaccinated guests shall be allowed to book their stay. Unvaccinated guests are required to present negative RT-PCR test results taken more than 48 hours before the check-in.

“The resumption of tourism-related activities in select areas will not only aid hotels and establishments in gradually earning revenue, but will also translate into the restoration of jobs for our displaced tourism workers, especially now that the holiday season is fast approaching,” Puyat said. 

“This is also very timely, knowing that that the holiday season is fast approaching. Family gatherings are part of the Filipino culture, which makes this an important period for leisure travels and bookings,” added the tourism chief. 

Under the amended guidelines, only DOT-accredited staycation hotels with Safety Seal certification will be allowed to accommodate staycation guests.

The list of these hotels is posted on DOT websites and social media pages:

The Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) hailed the eased restrictions under the current alert level in NCR.

It said that this will help the accommodation industry recover the revenues that were lost during the imposition of hard lockdowns due to the COVID-19 cases surge in August brought by the Delta variant.

PHOA executive director Benito Bengzon said the PHOA is optimistic that the relaxed alert level in NCR would result in “greater demand among hotel guests and boost the establishments’ revenues in the last quarter of 2021.”

“On behalf of all PHOA members, we commit our support to the government’s efforts for the safe and steady restart of the tourism industry,” Bengzon said.

“PHOA hopes that the government will continue implementing measures that will balance the health and economy in the country. This will pave the way for a sustained economic recovery, not only in the hotel industry, but also in other business sectors,” he added.

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