DOT issues guidelines for 'staycations' under GCQ areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — The Department of Tourism has released a set of guidelines allowing “staycations” in areas under general community quarantine.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed an administrative order allowing staycations for all ages except for those with underlying medical conditions.

“We welcome the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to permit ‘staycations’ or a minimum of an overnight stay for leisure purposes in GCQ areas,” Romulo-Puyat said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the Tourism secretary, it is in line with the DOT’s move to safely reopen the industry and bring back jobs to workers.

Here are the guidelines in the administrative order:

Negative antigen results

The IATF and the DOT require negative antigen test results from a rapid antigen test conducted on the day of check-in.

Cashless transaction

The DOT also noted that cashless transaction for taking bookings and payments is mandatory.

DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate

For establishments under GCQ, this certificate must be secured from the DOT. They should follow a strict set of guidelines on guest handling, including the maximum number of guests per room and other safety protocols.

Reopening of other function areas

According to the administrative order, hotels and other establishments may now also reopen their gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, and other beverage outlets aside from bars, which are prohibited in areas under GCQ.

“As safety remains the DOT’s top priority, establishments that will offer staycation services will be strictly monitored. They will be required to keep a record of occupancy and submit it every 10th of the month to the relevant DOT regional office and local government unit (LGU) tourism office for data analysis purposes,” the tourism chief said.

Philippine Travel Agencies Association President Ritchie Tuaño believes the resumption of staycations in GCQ areas will have a lasting impact on the Philippine tourism industry.

Though Tuaño admitted that it will take a long time before tourists can gain confidence in booking for staycations as the daily COVID-19 infections in the country are still at the thousand mark.

"Once we open slowly, we can sustain giving importance to the health and safety of the tourists," Tuaño told CNN Philippines' Rico Hizon.

The PTAA president added that the national tourism stakeholders are now finalizing the guidelines on how they will distribute funds from the Bayanihan to Recover As One Law to affected small businesses in their sector.