Ban on non-essential travels lifted by IATF

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    THE Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has lifted the suspension on non-essential travels by Filipinos abroad, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

    Roque said all travels, however, are still subject to protocols and immigration requirements.

    “Lahat ng travel restrictions na may kinalaman sa outbound travel ng mga Pilipino ay inalis na rin po. Huwag muna po tayong tumalon sa tuwa, bawal pa rin ang turismo. Pero ang mangyayari po ay kapag bi-biyahe, mayroon po tayong mga requirements na dapat ipakita sa ating Bureau of Immigration (All travel restrictions related to outbound travel of Filipinos have been lifted. But do not jump yet for joy because tourism is still not allowed. What will happen is when traveling, we must present certain requirements to our Bureau of Immigration),” he said.

    The outbound travel restrictions on Filipino travelers were imposed by the government in March due to the threat of the coronavirus disease.

    Roque said under IATF Resolution 52, Filipino travelers must meet the following requirements before they are allowed to travel: confirmed roundtrip tickets and tourist visas; travel and health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation in case one is stranded or undergo hospitalization in another country; and proof that the country of destination already allows the entry of Filipinos or other foreign nationals.

    He said travelers must also issue a declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, like delays in flights.

    He said upon return to the country, travelers must follow the guidelines implemented by the National Task Force, like undergoing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and undergoing home quarantine.

    BARBERSHOPS AND SALONS

    Roque said barbershops and salons operating in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are now allowed to increase their operational capacity and offer more services like facial and nail care.

    Roque said that under the latest guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), barbershops and salons in GCQ areas are now allowed up to 30 percent operational capacity and 50 percent capacity in MGCQ areas until July 15.

    The operational capacity will be raised to 50 percent in GCQ areas and 75 percent in MGCQ areas starting July 16.

    Roque said apart from hair cutting services, salons and barbershops in GCQ areas may now offer other hair treatment services, while those under MCQ areas may also provide nail care services, basic facial care like make-up, eyebrow threading, eyelash extension, and facial massage; and basic personal care services like waxing, threading, shaving, foot spa and hand spa.

    He said the operations are still subject to strict health protocol like practicing hand sanitation, wearing of face masks and face shields, wearing of gloves, sterilizing of equipment and disinfecting of the facility.

    “They must still follow physical distancing and prescribed minimum health protocols,” he added.

    Roque said salons and barbershops must also follow other DTI guidelines like observing the “no face mask/no entry” rule, provision of rubbing alcohol, thermal scanning and prohibition of entry to those with a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius, the prohibition of entry to those with colds, coughs and/or difficulty in breathing, and barring the entry of companions unless necessary.

    Establishments must have proper ventilation and exhaust systems, chairs should be one meter apart, restrooms should be sanitized and free of accumulation of trash, and sterilization of equipment and workstation should be done before and after each service.

    Roque said salons and barbershops must also register with SafePass or stayfe.ph or administer a health declaration checklist for contact tracing.

    TRANSPORT

    Roque reiterated that back-riding for motorcycles is already approved in principle but is still awaiting the final guidelines and approved protocols from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

    He added a final decision on what type of health precautions would be used is still pending.

    He said one design being looked at, which is the use of a glass-like barrier between the motorcycle driver and the passenger that was suggested by Bohol governor Arthur Yap.

    Roque said Resolution 52 also states that a bus augmentation scheme especially along EDSA will be in place following the five-day suspension of the operations of the Metro Rail Transit-3 starting July 7.