Some tourism activities are now allowed in Cebu province but visitors are obliged to follow certain protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.
On Thursday, Garcia issued Executive Order No. 20-A, enumerating activities allowed in many tourist attractions and outlining guidelines to “promote the health and wellness of an individual, accommodating establishments and the dine-in of persons in restaurants” while the province is under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Among the activities allowed are canyoneering which is famous in south Cebu town of Badian, island hopping, snorkeling, diving, beach activities, whale shark watching and snorkeling in Oslob, sightseeing, zipline adventure, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding, parasailing, hiking, trekking and mountaineering, spelunking (caving) and visiting cultural heritage sites and museums.
Canyoneering is allowed to operate every 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a limit of 300 people per day. Spelunking, hiking, and mountaineering have also the same time to operate.
For island hopping and whale watching, the boats to be used are only allowed at 50-percent maximum passenger-carrying capacity. Operators are directed to disinfect the vessels.
Snorkelers are no longer allowed to rent masks and snorkel as they are required to use their own gear.
Divers are also “strongly encouraged to purchase or bring their own masks, buoyancy control devices, mouthpieces, snorkeling tubers to avoid sharing of equipment.”
The whale shark interaction is only open from 6 a.m. to noon with a maximum limit of 1,000 guests per day.
The new EO, which shall take effect immediately, “highly encouraged” open-air and well-ventilated dining but indoor air-conditioned dining is allowed if operators install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and ionizer.
However, dine-in shall be limited only to 75 percent of the establishment’s full carrying capacity, and buffet service is also allowed if food servers are present in the buffet area and all food trays are covered.
The provincial government discourages walk-in tourists and urges them instead to pre-book their visits to different site attractions via a centralized online booking portal managed by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force.
“Guests who arrive at the destination without bookings shall be assisted by the establishment to ensure that booking is done through the portal before allowing them to participate in any activity,” the EO read.
Under the new normal, visitors can make payments for their online bookings using money transfer and e-wallet service. Because of this, the booking portal of the province provides payment options.
Just like in normal conditions, tourist spot operators are still obliged to brief tourists on rules and regulations, and prescribed gear to wear.
Before this, the visitors will be asked to give personal and travel information upon booking and tour packages “must be fully paid before commencement of the tour”.
Every tourist will be given RIFD (radio-frequency identification) bracelet to be worn at all times. The RIFD confirmation code will also be sent via email, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or other similar messaging platforms.
The EO noted that vehicles for tourists must not be air-conditioned and, if possible, must be installed with HEPA filter and ionizer.
The EO said: “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.
“Those exhibiting influenza-like symptoms shall immediately be turned over to the city or municipal health officer for proper management and handling,” it said.
All establishments are also required to set up physical distancing markers of at least one meter apart, foot baths, acrylic or glass barriers, alcohol and sanitizing area as well as HEPA filter and ionizer at the reception area and washing area visible from the entry point.
The tourists are no longer allowed to use disposable water bottles but they will be given refillable water tumbler the cost of which will be included in the tour package.
Upon their arrival, they will be offered freshly squeezed juice to boost the immune system, as well as turmeric tea, lemongrass juice, and other similar drinks.
The EO strictly mandates regular disinfection of the premises and facilities, safety gear, equipment, and luggage. (PNA)