BACOLOD CITY (PNA) – Sipalay City in Negros Occidental has lifted its moratorium on tourism-related travel and reopened its doors to tourists starting Friday, November 6, under strict health and safety protocols.
The easing of travel restrictions was stated in an executive order issued by Mayor Maria Gina Lizares, two and half months after the ban on tourism-related and non-essential travels was imposed on August 14 amid the spike in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the province.
“With the decrease in the number of confirmed cases in (Negros Occidental), the Sipalay Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 has deemed it necessary to ease the restrictions and lift the moratorium on non-essential and tourism-related travel for the economic recovery of the city,” Lizares said.
On November 1, non-essential travel started to be allowed in the southern Negros city.
Sipalay, the province’s top tourist destination, is famous for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking dive sites.
Under the current general tourism guidelines, accommodation establishments will accept non-resident tourists who comply with the requirements set by the city government.
They will be allowed to enter either through the Cartagena border or the Nabulao border.
Non-resident tourists are required to register at least three days before arrival in the online registration form and upload a copy of any government-issued identification card for adults or school ID for students as well as booking confirmation from the accommodation establishment.
Upon arrival at the checkpoint, they should present the email confirmation from the City Tourism Office and secure a copy of negative rapid nasal antigen test result taken from a Department of Health (DOH)-accredited testing facility on the day of travel to Sipalay, or from the City Health Office, which will conduct the test at the city gymnasium for a fee of P2,000 per person.
Non-resident tourists may also present their valid reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result in lieu of the rapid nasal antigen test result.
They should present a copy of the negative test result at the checkpoint and at the accommodation establishment upon check-in.
Tourists with a negative swab test result, but are symptomatic upon arrival will not be allowed for leisure travel in Sipalay.
During the re-opening, the only authorized tourism activity would be staycations, and only non-resident tourists traveling in vehicles either rented or personally owned will be allowed entry.
Recreational areas, sports facilities, swimming pool, and similar facilities within the accommodation establishment are allowed to operate for non-contact sports or activities, but with strict observance of applicable minimum health protocols.
Dive schools are also allowed to operate provided those who will enroll will submit a negative RT-PCR test result valid within five days from the date of swabbing.