Puyat wants tighter watch on staycation hotels as IATF relaxes rules for AEs

Published May 30, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has ordered a tighter monitoring on staycation hotels and other accommodation establishments (AEs) in relation to the observance of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Photo from Puyat’s Facebook)

This, after the the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the reopening of AEs in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas at up to 30 percent of venue capacity under strict health and safety guidelines.

“We welcome the IATF’s decision to allow DOT-Accredited Accommodation Establishments in GCQ areas to accept guests for leisure. This will contribute to the return of livelihood and jobs that were lost during the pandemic,” Puyat said, referring to IATF Resolution 117.

“We continue to issue the reminder that the safety of guests, residents, and host communities should never be compromised,” she stressed.

Resolution 117 effectively approved the DOT’s request to allow DOT-Accredited AEs in GCQ areas to accept leisure guests.

Previously, under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, AEs may not accommodate guests for leisure purposes, except those that have been issued a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation (CAOS).

With the latest development, staycation guests will no longer be required to undergo a COVID-19 test following the recommendation of health experts that strict symptoms screening and observance of minimum public health standards (MPHS) were already sufficient.

“While we understand that strict health and safety protocols need to remain in place, DOT is happy with this development. This will bring back significant revenue especially to small hotels and private resorts in GCQ areas during the summer season,” noted Puyat.

In areas under Modified GCQ (MGCQ), AEs may accommodate leisure guests without the same-household requirement and without restriction as to the venue capacity, provided that MPHS are observed. However, Puyat said that the IATF age restrictions will be strictly observed in all cases. This means that only guests aged 18 to 65 years old will be allowed to check in.

“We would have wanted to allow guests of all ages to be accommodated, knowing that when Filipinos go on vacation, we travel as a family. However, in every decision concerning the safe resumption of tourism during this pandemic, the DOT always puts premium to what our health experts recommend,” the tourism chief said.

She reiterated that isolation or quarantine hotels are not allowed to accommodate leisure or staycation guests.

The IATF resolution likewise states that the local government units (LGUs) that have jurisdiction over the AEs shall strictly monitor their compliance with MPHS.