Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced Wednesday that the Department of Tourism (DOT) has been given the authority by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to determine the allowable operational capacity even up to 100 percent for hotels, including staycation hotels, in areas classified under a modified community quarantine (MGCQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
Puyat, however, stressed that the decision to open at a full operational capacity will be subject to the hotel management’s decision and compliance with the safety guidelines, stressing that hotels and other accommodation establishments still cannot operate for staycation and temporary quarantine facility at the same time amid health risk.
“According to health experts, di pwede mag-mix [ang visitors] (visitors cannot be mixed),” she said.
The announcement came on the heels of the IATF-EID’s approval of Resolution No. 79 last October 15, in which it replaces the provision that accommodation establishments in areas under GCQ may only operate with a skeleton work force, and now provides that such operations may be governed by the issuances of relevant national agencies such as the DOT.
For accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under MGCQ, IATF Resolution No. 79 provides that the DOT shall determine their allowable operational capacity from the previous provision for a maximum of 50 percent operational capacity.
The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) welcomed this development.
“We thank the Secretary for her support to really slowly re- open business as it will benefit the establishments along with employees going back to work. We fully understand the importance of sanitation, safety, and strict adherence to the protocols which have been implemented since the start,” HSMA President Christine Ann Ibarreta said.
Also approved in the said resolution is the easing up of interzonal and intrazonal movement, which is the predicate to reviving domestic tourism.
“Along with this comes the need to ready the whole tourism value chain, which includes the accommodation, transportation and tour operation sectors. Allowing the accommodation sector to operate at full capacity will be most welcomed by tourism’s workforce that has been greatly affected since the community lockdown,” Puyat added.
The tourism chief said that the DOT will soon issue the amended guidelines for the expanded operational capacity of hotels including staycation hotels.
Puyat had earlier directed all hotels and other tourism establishments in areas declared to be under GCQ to secure a DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (CAOS) prior to accommodating any guests for that purpose.
As of Oct. 13, 10 star-rated hotels in Metro Manila have been granted (CAOS) by the DOT which includes Grand Hyatt Manila, Nüwa Hotel in City of Dreams, Makati Shangri-La, Okada Manila, Nobu Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Solaire Resort, Edsa Shangri-La, Joy Nostalg Hotels and Suites Manila, and Hyatt Regency.