DOT launches 'SafePass' app to help businesses under new normal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3) — Tourism-related establishments can now count on an application called SafePass to operate under the new normal that was launched by the Department of Tourism.

"It basically provides digital solutions, no, pagdating sa space capacity planning, no, ilan ba pupwedeng pumasok diyan; yung contact tracing, no, to make sure that we're able to monitor yung movements ng ating mga customers doon sa establishment, sa restaurant, and then yung protocol enforcement," said Tourism Undersecretary and Spokesperson Benito Bengzon Jr. on CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon.

[Translation: It (The app) basically provides digital solutions when it comes to space capacity planning, as in how many people can actually come inside (an establishment); contact tracing, to make sure that we're able to monitor the movements of customers in the establishment, and protocol enforcement.]

The agency launched the app with the Department of Trade and Industry and inclusion-tech venture Talino Venture Labs "to meet the new normal in a post-lockdown or post-pandemic scenario," said Bengzon.

Through SafePass, establishments will be able to determine their maximum capacity provided social distancing requirements are in place, explained the official. Meanwhile, customers may use the app to help map out their visit to their establishment of choice.

"Pagdating naman dun sa booking, pupwede tayong pumunta dun sa app tapos alamin natin kung ano oras ba tayo pupunta dun, ilang tao tayo, and you know, we will be able to get information if we can be accommodated. So nawawala dito ngayon yung problema na pagpasok mo dun eh siksikan pala, hindi ka makapasok," Bengzon said.

[Translation: When it comes to booking, we can go to the app and check what time may we proceed (to the establishment), what is our headcount (going there), and you know, we will be able to get information if we can be accommodated. So this eliminates the problem of (the establishment) already being crowded once you get there, preventing you from getting inside.]

Given that the app is able to benefit establishments and customers, Bengzon said they expect users to avail of its services.

"On the part of the establishment, nam-manage mo yung pagpasok ng mga turista at tsaka nasisiguro mo that during the entire operating hours, meron kang kliyente. On the part naman of the customers, sigurado ka na maa-accomodate pagpasok mo dun," he explained.

[Translation: On the part of the establishment, you're able to manage the entry of tourists and ensure you have clients all throughout your operating hours. On the part of the customers, you can ensure you will get accommodate upon entering (the establishment).]

The app also contributes to the ongoing shift to cashless, contactless transactions, with the pandemic forcing the public to reduce as much physical contact as possible, Bengzon said.

At present, hotels are the only tourism business permitted to operate at limited capacity. They may only accommodate overseas Filipino workers, overseas Filipinos, workers in essential businesses like business process outsourcing firms and banks, and medical frontliners, the official said.

Meanwhile, restaurants in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas are restricted to take-out and delivery options. However, those in modified GCQ areas may already provide dine-in operations but only at half their capacity.