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The Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued strict guidelines for “staycations” as part of the government efforts to re-start the economy through tourism.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo signed the administrative order which allows “staycations” for persons of all ages, except those with underlying medical conditions, within areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

“We welcome the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to permit ‘staycations’ or a minimum of an overnight stay for leisure purposes in GCQ areas. This decision adds to the DOT’s drive to slowly but safely resume tourism in the country and finally bring back jobs to our workers in the industry,” Puyat said.

Each staycation guest shall be required to present a negative result from a rapid antigen test conducted on the same day of check-in.

The order provides that all Accommodation Establishments in areas declared to be under GCQ must secure a DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (DCAOS) prior to accommodating any guests for staycation.

These establishments must follow guidelines on guest handling, including the maximum number of guests per room, as well as health and safety standards for ancillary establishments. They may also resume operations of ancillary facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets, except for bars which remain prohibited in GCQ areas.

“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.

Accommodation establishments are required to “develop staycation packages that are appropriate for the present market demands and conditions. The offerings must strictly adhere to the existing health and safety guidelines of the DOT and will likewise be monitored by the concerned regional office of the department,” she added.

To promote minimal physical contact among staff and guests, contactless and cashless transactions for taking bookings and payments are also mandatory.

As prescribed by the guidelines, establishments must adhere to other issuances on health and safety standards from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Department of Health (DOH) as well as rules and regulations imposed by the LGU concerned.

“Violators shall suffer appropriate fines and fees, including revocation of DOT accreditation,” Puyat warned.

The tourism chief also issued a memorandum circular updating and harmonizing these guidelines with existing policies set by sector-relevant agencies and ensuring more adequate health and safety guidelines, especially for the operation of ancillary establishments within the accommodation establishments.

“Nothing beats restarting the tourism economy. We need to bring back jobs but with health and safety as a priority,” Secretary Puyat said.

Published:January 13, 2021

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