Contributed photo by Mae Angelie Vasquez

The tourism industry has been massively hit by the coronavirus pandemic. As one of the driving forces of the economy, surely it has greatly affected many Filipinos as businesses procedures are now being put to halt.

After months of quarantine and strict compliance of health and safety measures, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia finds it necessary to gradually resume some tourism activities in the province given that many Cebuanos rely on tourism as main source of livelihood.

Governor Garcia issues Executive Order No. 20-A

Last July 23, Thursday, Governor Garcia issued Executive Order No. 20-A which now allows the opening of tourist attractions and outlines the guidelines that need to be followed in order to promote the health and wellness of the visitors, accommodating establishments, and dine-in of restaurant customers while in Cebu province under the Modified General Community Quarantine.

Tourism Activities that are Allowed under MGCQ

Under the aforementioned executive order, the following activities may now be done in the following municipalities:

  • Canyoneering in Badian and Alegria
  • Island hopping, Snorkeling, Diving, Beach activities, and whaleshark watching in Oslob
  • Sightseeing
  • Zipline adventure
  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding
  • Parasailing
  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Spelunking (caving)
  • Visiting cultural heritage sites and museums

Health and Safety Protocols to be followed for Tourism Activities

Here are the health and safety protocols as stipulated in the Executive Order No. 20-A:

  1. Booking of Tour
  2. Walk-in tourists are discouraged. Instead, visitors are encouraged to pre-book their tour on the centralized online booking portal managed by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force. Nonetheless, walk-ins will still be entertained and assisted by the establishment to ensure that booking is done through the portal before allowing them to participate in any activity.
  3. ·         Online payments using money transfers and e-wallet services is also encouraged. This can be done through the booking portal provided by the government. Guests must pay in full their dues before commencing with the tour. And just like the usual protocol, tourist spot operators have to brief tourists on rules and regulations, and prescribed gear to wear.
  4. Tourists are given RIFD bracelets which they will wear at all times. RIFD confirmation codes will then be sent to the tourist’s email, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or other similar messaging platforms.
  5. Open-air and well-ventilated dining is highly encouraged but restaurants with indoor air-conditioned is allowed if install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and ionizer. However, dine-in customers must be limited up to 75% only of the establishment’s full carrying capacity. Buffet service is already allowed if food servers are present in the buffet area and all food trays are covered.
  6. Reception Area
  7. All personnel assigned at the reception area should wear a personal air purifier” and directed to conduct health screening such as temperature checks to all guests.
  8. Physical distancing markers should be placed in visible areas to guide queuing guests
  9. Foot baths must be placed at the entrance of the reception area
  10. Acrylic or glass barriers may be set up at the front desk
  11. Alcohol and alcohol-based sanitizer as well as tissue or paper towels must be made available by the establishment at all times
  12. Use of disposable bottles is not allowed. Guests are provided with brand-new refillable water tumbler – which will be part of the tour package. In accordance with this, refilling stations for water or turmeric-infused and honey-sweetened calamansi juice shall be made readily available.
  13. Luggage and personal belongings must be disinfected with an Ultraviolet Germicidal Light

Other important Guidelines include:

  • Only 300 people are allowed to do canyoneering in Badian and Alegria – that is 600 in total daily. Operating hours begins at 6am and ends at 3pm in the afternoon.
  • Island hopping and whale watching in Oslob should only cater 50% of the maximum passenger-carrying capacity and operators are strictly directed to disinfect their vessels.
  • Renting of masks and snorkels are also no longer allowed as snorkelers are now required to use their own gears.
  • Divers are also “strongly encouraged to purchase or bring their own masks, buoyancy control devices, mouthpieces, and snorkeling tubers to avoid sharing of equipment.
  • Whale shark interaction is only open from 6am to noon with a limited number of 1,000 guests per day.
  • Tourist vehicles must not be air-conditioned, and if possible, must be installed with HEPA filter and ionizer.
  • Tourists who exhibit influenza-like symptoms shall be turned over to the city or municipal

For more details, read the full text of the Executive Order here: https://web.facebook.com/sugbonews.gov/posts/1429198523931841?_rdc=1&_rdr

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