Interzonal leisure travel has been allowed by the government’s pandemic task force for Metro Manila residents as the National Capital Region is set to be placed under Alert Level 4, the second highest classification in the new lockdown scheme, from September 16 to 30.
The decision was welcomed by Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday, Sept. 14, after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued the guidelines on the pilot run of a new COVID-19 alert level system in the National Capital Region (NCR) to curb the spread of the virus and its variants.
However, Puyat clarified that NCR residents who are below 18 and over 65 years old are still not permitted to leave their residences for leisure travel based on the guidelines for areas under Alert Level 4.
“Travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidity as may be determined by their respective local government unit (LGU) and the reasonable regulations of their destination’s LGU,” Puyat explained.
Meanwhile, under the same guidelines, outdoor or al fresco dine-in will be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity while indoor dine-in will be allowed at 10 percent only for fully-vaccinated individuals.
Puyat said this development, along with the high inoculation rate among tourism workers from hotels, will make dining in their restaurants safer amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Allowing fully vaccinated guests to dine in restaurants located inside DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants will slowly help restart the economy while making sure all our tourism workers and guests are safe,” she added.
“The good news is that 99 percent of tourism workers employed in hotels across Metro Manila have been vaccinated. All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate,” she noted.
The tourism chief also reminded all tourism-related establishments in the NCR that specialized markets of the DOT, such as staycations, indoor visitor or tourist attractions, and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) are prohibited under Alert level 4 as stated under the IATF ruling.
“In light of the rising COVID-19 cases across the country, everyone is strongly reminded to observe the minimum health and safety protocols at all times,” Puyat said.