As most parts of Cebu remain under modified general community quarantine until July 31, 2020, the Provincial Government continues preparations to gradually reopen the tourism industry, one of Cebu’s primary growth engines.
Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia has been going around the province to consult tourism industry stakeholders over the health and safety protocols that should be strictly implemented by the industry to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a steep economic decline globally and brought the tourism industry down to its knees, forcing hotels, resorts, tourist destinations and tourism-related establishments to either halt operations or totally shut down.
In Oslob, a southern Cebu town famous for whale shark watching, industry players estimated losses of around P100 million in the last four months, according to the provincial government’s Sugbo News.
The governor led consultative meetings with stakeholders in Oslob, Moalboal, Dalaguete, Badian, Alegria and Daanbantayan to get inputs on rates and health protocols as well as revive efforts to promote Cebu as a health and wellness destination.
The provincial government is also preparing an online booking system to limit visitor traffic.
The One Cebu Tourism Portal will allow guests to book and pay online for tourism activities offered in the province such as whale shark watching, trekking, canyoneering, sardine run and turtle watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, among others.
Walk-in visitors will be discouraged.
Here are some of the health protocols that Garcia will include in an executive order that she will issue on the reopening of the tourism industry, based on Sugbo News reports:
Tourism establishments must require wearing of face masks and/or face shields.
All personnel will undergo temperature check before every work shift.
Foot baths, sanitizers and acrylic or glass barriers at reception and front desks must be installed.
Physical distancing will be strictly implemented.
Facilities must be regularly disinfected with the use of ultraviolet germicidal lamp. Installation of an air purification system is encouraged.
After every use, equipment used in tourism activities must also be disinfected. No sharing of snorkeling equipment.
Visitors’ bags and luggage must also be disinfected upon arrival at a destination.
Hotels and resorts are encouraged to serve calamansi juice, water infused with lemon and honey or turmeric tea and other health drinks to welcome guests.
Vehicles used to transport guests must not use air-conditioning and must contain an air purification system. These must also be regularly disinfected.
The tourist police will be tapped to ensure enforcement of these protocols and others specified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. (Ventures Cebu)