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The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the encouraging developments towards reopening of tourist destinations and ensured that the tourism sector is ready to provide service under the post-lockdown “New Normal” scenario.

“Tourism will be allowed in a number of areas graduating from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to the more relaxed Modified GCQ, and we are having our hotels and resorts prepared to follow the safety protocols,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in an interview with GMA Unang Hirit’s Arnold Clavio and Connie Sison.

Puyat recently signed the DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2020-002 pursuant to Republic Act 11469 or “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” and RA 9593 or “Tourism Act of 2009,” institutionalizing health and safety protocols in the operations of accommodation establishments under the New Normal Scenario.

The DOT Chief underscored the importance of the local government units’ (LGUs) role in enforcing the New Normal protocols, as health authorities continue to search for a vaccine against the dreaded coronavirus.

“The crisis might dissipate and the local epidemic slows down but the threat of COVID-19 will still be there, and our response to that is to strictly observe personal prevention such as wearing face mask, hand-washing and social distancing,” Puyat points out.

Under the Guidelines, Puyat said a reduced capacity is to be observed in the room accommodation, tourist bus or shuttle and dining room. Wearing of face mask and physical distancing should be practiced, too, she said.

“Hindi na yata tayo puwede magkakadikit at pag nag-selfie importante ang physical distancing,” Puyat added.

In constant dialog with the stakeholders about recovery efforts, the DOT Chief said there is a consensus to “do it slowly but surely.”

“Siyempre may gusto puno, pero sabi natin dapat unti-unti, hinay-hinay. Para pag nagbukas ayaw naman natin na magka-outbreak dahil sa turismo. Sayang naman ang pinaghirapan natin,” Puyat said.

Published:March 9, 2021

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