Erring tourist establishment closed down in La Union

Published June 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hanah Tabios

The country’s tourism business operations have not yet fully resumed but the Department of Tourism (DOT) is now clamping down on enterprises that are violating the quarantine guidelines.

New Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat

Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the Manila Bulletin that she recently asked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to inspect an erring establishment in La Union province after receiving reports last Friday and Saturday that a well-known local bar violated the physical distancing protocol after it resumed operations.

The province is now under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and bars qualify under dine-in services which were allowed to operate at a reduced capacity since June 15, according to Puyat.

She said the tip came from a concerned resident who reported that customers were almost in “shoulder to shoulder” position, with the band operating in full swing.

“No physical distancing,” she said.

But the local government of San Juan, La Union quickly responded and ordered the temporary shutdown of the establishment on June 16, just a day after it reopened, until such time that minimum and safety protocols were in place, as well as the implementation of a local ordinance on noise pollution.

To note, San Juan town is a popular beach and surfing spot, especially among millennials.

Apart from the inspection in tourism businesses near the beachfront, the LGU also visited accommodation establishments in relation to their application for a Certificate of Authority to Operate as mandated by the national government COVID-19 task force.

“The DOT shall be at forefront and will be relentless in ensuring all stakeholders are ready when we reopen tourism by strictly adhering to our new guidelines for all sectors of the industry,” Puyat said.

Meanwhile, in her recent television interview she revealed that the DOT is eyeing the gradual reopening of more local tourist destinations, but some local chief executives are still “hesitant” to open their doors to the public without a tighter health protocols to prevent a potential coronavirus outbreak.