P2P leisure flights, staycations prohibited as Metro Manila reverts to ECQ on Aug. 6

Published July 30, 2021, 2:25 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) issued on Friday, July 30 new guidelines for tourism industry stakeholders to follow as the government intends to reimpose an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila starting Aug. 6.

(Photo from Pixabay)

These include the immediate suspension of point-to-point (P2P) flights for leisure purposes, the DOT said in a statement.

It said returning flights will be only allowed for tourists residing in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal–collectively known as the NCR-plus.

To further prevent congestion in the borders of NCR, the DOT said that any type of “non-essential travel” to and from the NCR-plus shall be prohibited and that only Authorized Persons Outside their Residences (APORs) in and out of the bubble shall be allowed.

Meanwhile, the DOT reminded indoor tourist attractions and DOT-accredited accommodation establishments to halt their operations and stop accepting leisure guests within the NCR-plus starting Friday, July 30, regardless of the date of booking.

“Those who are already checked-in for staycation in staycation hotels as of 29 July 2021, however, may continue their stay until the last day of their original booking,” the DOT added.

However, the department clarified that accredited accommodation establishments may still serve those required to undergo quarantine, long-stay guests as stated under DOT Administrative Order No. 2021-004-A; health and emergency frontline services personnel who need easy access to their place of work; and APORs who require accommodation pursuant to their official function or duty.

Aside from tourism activities, mass gatherings–including social events and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE)–will continue to be prohibited, while dine-in restaurant establishments premises will also be closed starting Monday, August 1.

The DOT likewise urges its stakeholders, particularly the hotel operators, travel agencies and airlines, to allow affected guests to rebook without charges.

“The National Task Force Vaccine Cluster is ramping up efforts to vaccinate tourism workers in more destinations across the country. The cooperation of all will be vital to the success of the government’s current efforts to inoculate more individuals against the virus and curb the spread of COVID-19,” it added.

Malacañang earlier announced that Metro Manila will be placed under the ECQ from Aug. 6 to 20.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Metro Manila but will first undergo a new variant of the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened and additional restrictions” from July 30 to Aug. 5 to allow business owners and the public to make the necessary preparations.

Roque explained that the move toward ECQ was triggered by the rising number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country and with the local transmission of the dreaded Delta variant.