‘Huwag matigas ang ulo!’ : DOT puts foot down, says hotels cannot mix quarantine and leisure functions

Published April 19, 2021, 2:30 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has warned hotels in the country not to operate simultaneously as both quarantine facility and a leisure space, or else face closure.

“Bawal mag-mix ang quarantine at leisure. In fact, marami na kaming naipasarang hotel na nag-mix. Kapag quarantine hotel ka, quarantine lang; kapag leisure, leisure lang (Quarantine and leisure facilities should not mix. In fact we have already closed many hotels doing this. If you are a quarantine hotel, then just be a quarantine; if you’re a leisure hotel, then just be a leisure hotel),” Puyat said in an interview over the weekend.

According to Puyat, there are a total of 13 accommodation establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR) that are authorized by the DOT to operate as a staycation hotel.

Puyat said some hotel operators want to serve as both quarantine and staycation facilities. But health experts have noted the possible spread of the virus among guests, unless they are housed in separate buildings.

The tourism chief reiterated her appeal to accommodation establishments to operate only based on their accredited status.

“Huwag na matigas ang ulo. May pandemya pa tayo and clear na clear ang guidelines. COVID-19 is no laughing matter. Kapag nagpabaya or nagpalusot hindi kayo magaling, baka kayo pa ang maging reason kung bakit nag-i-spread and COVID (Do not be stubborn. We are still in a pandemic and the guidelines are very clear. COVID-19 is no laughing matter. Don’t try to be clever, or else you might become the reason for spreading COVID-19),” Puyat said.

“You should really realize that this is a mission—we all have to work together. Kapag tayo ay disiplinado at sumusunod sa mga guidelines, sabay-sabay tayo na aahon. Pero kapag may one na pasaway, lahat tayo bagsak (If we are disciplined and we follow the guidelines, we will all succeed together. But if there is just one violator, we will all fail), she explained.

She also reminded operators to strictly follow operational guidelines as well as health and safety protocols set by the tourism and health departments for the sake of their guests and workers.

“So please, please, please follow the guidelines. Huwag ninyo na hintayin na ipasara namin kayo. Ayaw naman namin magpasara ng mga hotel kasi gusto namin tuluy-tuloy ang pasweldo ninyo sa inyong mga employees (Do not wait for us to shut you down. We do not want to close hotels because we want your employees to get paid continuously),” she emphasized.