‘Staycations’ now allowed in GCQ areas

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    THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has given the green light for the calibrated re-opening of the local tourism industry as it approved the resumption of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) “staycation” program.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque yesterday said families can again have their staycations in hotels and resorts located in areas that are under general community quarantine (GCQ).

    Roque said the move is aimed at allowing the local tourism industry to slowly reopen so businesses can recover their losses after the tourism industry was shut down when the entire country was placed under varying levels of lockdowns as a safety strategy against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    Roque said the staycation program is part of the regulated reopening of the tourism industry and the economy under the second phase of the National Action Plan.

    “This marks the beginning of the reopening of our tourism industry here in Metro Manila.

    Let’s give it a chance because like our ad campaign, we need to, we can protect our lives to be able to return to work,” he said.

    Roque said the staycation program, which is still limited to GCQ and modified GCQ areas, will be subject to guidelines and protocols to be issued by the DOT, which will hand down the restrictions on the number of guests to be accommodated, the length of stay and allowed activities, among others.

    The tourism department is likewise expected to identify the types of hotels and resorts can resume operations.

    Roque said that apart from allowing the resumption of the staycation program, the IATF had also allowed the conduct of live events or shows in MGCQ areas provided that the events are limited to up to 50 percent of the capacity of the venue.

    Currently under GCQ from September 1 to 30 are Metro Manila, Bulacan and Batangas, and Tacloban City, while Iligan City, Bacolod City and Lanao del Sur are under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). The rest of the country is under MGCQ.

    Joint Task Force COVID Shield chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar yesterday reminded Metro Manila residents who want to go to Tagaytay City or go out of town for personal reasons that they will be required to present a travel pass when passing through borders.

    Eleazar made the statement during the Laging Handa press briefing to qualify statements from Cavite local officials that travel pass is no longer needed for tourists who want to go to Tagaytay City.

    “While it is true that the Tagaytay LGU has declared that they no longer require a travel pass when non-residents visit, that applies only to those who are also from Cavite,” said Eleazar.