Beach marshalls to be deployed when tourism activities are resumed

Published September 10, 2020, 2:56 PM

by Hanah Tabios

Aside from assigning lifeguards on duty, “beach marshalls” will now be also deployed when beach and other island activities resume under the new normal tourism setup.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat issued last Monday Memorandum Circular No. 2020-007 or the “Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operation of Island and Beach Destinations under the New Normal” that included this provision.

To warrant the safe reopening of the country’s domestic tourism, local government units (LGUs) shall designate safety marshalls to ensure physical distancing among guests in all local travel destinations. This will be in addition to the lifeguards on duty during prescribed swimming hours.

“The Department of Tourism maintains its commitment to safely resume tourism in the Philippines under a ‘New Normal’,” Puyat said.

She also reminded the public that mass gatherings and group events, including sports competition, youth camps, and other activities that gather crowds, must comply with the health and safety protocols of the national and local governments as she stressed that cooperation is the key to the implementation of these rules.

“In a new normal scenario where no quarantine classification is imposed, swimming, surfing, running, walking, and other forms of outdoor non-contact sports and exercises will be allowed in our island and beach destinations, as long as minimum public health standards are strictly observed,” she added.

Unlike during the pre-COVID phase, the DOT requires all tourists who intend to stay for at least one night in an island or beach destination to present a confirmed booking at an accommodation establishment.

Those who have no confirmed bookings will be allowed entry at the destination, provided that they have joined a day tour package, or have an outbound ticket on the same day.

The DOT also said that it will make the directory of DOT-accredited accommodation establishments available at the Port of Entry for easy reference.

All guests are also required to undergo screening prior to island entry through the usual body temperature checks and completion of health declaration form either through a mobile application of other contactless means prior to boarding any transport service going to the island or beach destination.

Accommodation and other tourism establishments are also mandated to implement a “no face mask, no entry” policy and utilize online modes of payment in booking transactions.

Puyat also said restrooms must also meet the requirements and qualifications prescribed under the ASEAN public toilet standards.

The guidelines indicated that public restrooms must be operational at all times and must be cleaned and sanitized regularly every two hours or as may be necessary. These must also be regularly supplied with clean water, hand soaps, alcohol, paper towel or tissue, trans bins, and other cleaning materials.

Meanwhile, concessions, shops, peddlers, ambulant vendors, and food vending will remain strictly prohibited at beaches.

The DOT also prohibited the use of chairs, canopies, grills, and other ancillary temporary structures to ensure health and safety among guests and tourism workers.

On Wednesday, the tourism department also released to the public the signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 2020-004 or the “Guidelines for Leisure and Tourism Operations of Island and Beach Destinations under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ),” which reiterates the DOT’s strict adherence to the existing rules set by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on interzonal movement, health and safety standards, and leisure and tourism activity in island and beach destinations under the MGCQ classification.

The order stressed that the conduct of leisure and tourism activities or travel in island and beach Destinations in areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ are still strictly prohibited.

The DOT previously said that even after the transition of areas to MGCQ, the LGUs with jurisdiction over several tourism sites will have the final say on the resumption of their local tourism activities.