CEBU CITY ---- The province of Cebu has reopened its doors to tourists to revive its economy crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
But no walk-in guests will be allowed in all travel destinations on the island to contain the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
In an executive order issued last July 23, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said those who want to visit the tourist destinations in the province should register through the centralized online portal being created by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force.
Payments shall be made through money transfer, e-wallet service, and other cashless payment options.
Once registration and payment are completed, guests shall be sent a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) confirmation code through their emails, Messengers, Viber accounts, or any other similar platform.
The RFID shall be presented upon arrival. Once verified, each guest shall be given an RFID bracelet that must be worn at all times for the duration of their stay at the tourist destination.
Garcia said the procedures were meant to limit the number of visitors, determine their target destination in advance, and for quick and efficient contact tracing in case it is needed.
"This time around, we are not going for quantity but quality. We should not open our tourism industry abruptly. The right way to do it is gradually. We have to be able to manage this very, very carefully," she said.
The activities that were given the green light include whale shark watching, canyoneering, island hopping, snorkeling, diving, beach activities, sightseeing, zipline adventure, all-terrain vehicle riding, parasailing, hiking, trekking, mountaineering, spelunking or caving, and visits to cultural heritage sites and museums.
In her executive order, Garcia required persons who intend to engage in snorkeling to bring their mask and snorkel, while divers must also have their buoyancy control devices, mouthpieces, and towels.
The use of disposable water bottles is also prohibited.
Garcia said guests shall instead be provided with a brand-new refillable water tumbler, the cost of which shall be part of the tour package.
Freshly squeezed juice that boosts the immune system, she said, would be served to welcome guests at every site destination. These include turmeric or salabat (ginger) tea, lemongrass juice, calamansi juice, and other similar drinks.
All service crew is required to strictly comply with the health protocols, such as wearing face masks, shields, and personal air purifiers as well as to observe physical distancing at all times.
Resort management and tour operators shall also regularly disinfect and sterilize safety gear, facilities, equipment, and surroundings.
Garcia said the curfew, which is from midnight to 5 a.m., shall be implemented within the province.
Except for Talisay City, the towns of Minglanilla, and Consolacion, which are under general community quarantine, are on a more relaxed modified general community quarantine since June 29, which allowed the resumption of tourism-related activities.
Cebu City remains the only local government in the country under modified enhanced community quarantine until July 31.