Boracay to welcome GCQ, MGCQ tourists starting Oct. 1

The government has allowed Boracay Island to accept local tourists from general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas starting October 1.

Boracay visitors however must pass the coronavirus test before traveling to Boracay based on the latest Resolution No. 74 issued by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).

"Effective October 1, 2020, Boracay Island may accept tourists from areas within a community quarantine classification of General Community Quarantine or lower, apart from travelers from Western Visayas," Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Thursday night.

"In this regard, the Test-Before-Travel shall be implemented and strict quarantine shall be observed immediately after undergoing the test until the date of the travel to the island," he added.

The IATF noted that only travelers with negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result not earlier than 48 hours prior to travel date will be allowed to travel to Boracay.

In reopening Boracay to tourists, Roque also said age restrictions shall be relaxed while restrictions for persons with co-morbidities will still be strictly enforced. 

The IATF has also advised airlines to land at the Godofredo R. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, which will be the only port of entry for tourists traveling by air.

A central point shall be established to screen tourists traveling by land, air, or sea.

"Minimum health and safety guidelines as well as emergency response protocols must be in place, and a COVID-19 Laboratory in the locality must be operational," Roque said.

In June, the Boracay rehabilitation task force approved Aklan local government's recommendation to reopen Boracay but only for residents from the Western Visayas region.

The reopening of Boracay, known for its powdery white sand beaches, comes amid government's efforts to relax strict coronavirus lockdown to revive the sluggish economy.

The Palace recently said President Duterte's order is to gradually re-open the economy, including the tourism sector, with the assurance that health and safety measures are in place.

The national government, through the Department of Tourism, is working in concurrence with the local government units  in determining when tourism operations would resume in their areas.