Hotels reminded to follow protocols

As some accommodation establishments in Metro Manila are currently operating as quarantine facilities, it is important that these hotels are strict with following proper protocols especially now that the UK variant of COVID-19 has already been detected in the country.

In line with this, the National Capital Region (NCR) unit of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is reminding accommodation establishments operating as quarantine facilities to ensure proper protocols in handling its guests.

DOT-NCR director Woodrow Maquiling Jr., in an advisory, reminded accommodation establishments in Metro Manila operating as quarantine or isolation facilities of Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) coming from the flagged countries with existing booking at their properties to ensure the mandatory quarantine and negative RT-PCR result.

This is connected with the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), as travel bans against the flagged countries were extended until January 31.

Among these countries are Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hongkong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and United Arab Emirates.

“Likewise, hotel management must ensure a fast and convenient check-in procedure of ROFs upon arrival at their property to reduce the probable exposure and risk of getting COVID-19,” Maquiling said.

The DOT reiterated earlier its call to accommodation establishments operating as quarantine facilities to adhere to accommodation rules, emphasizing that they are not allowed to accept bookings for leisure.

Under DOT Administrative Order (AO) 2020-002-C states that selected hotels in Metro Manila will need to be issued Certificates of Authority to Operate (CAO) as quarantine facilities for stranded tourists and essential workers as well as returning overseas Filipinos (OFs) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In contrast, DOT AO 2020-006-A or the “Amended Guidelines on the Operations of Accommodation Establishments for Staycation Purposes under a General Community Quarantine”, states that all accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under GCQ must secure a Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycation (CAOS) from the DOT prior to accommodating any guests for staycation.

The DOT emphasized that hotels cannot operate for the same purposes at the same time. This means that hotels operating as quarantine facilities cannot accommodate guests for staycations and vice versa.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo- Puyat emphasized earlier that at present there are only 15 hotels in Metro Manila that have been issued certificates of authority to operate for staycations (CAOS).

Among these are Grand Hyatt Hotel, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Okada Manila Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Nobu Hotel, Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila, EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Solaire Resort, Hyatt Regency City of Dreams, Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams, The Peninsula Manila, Aruga by Rockwell, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila and Hotel Okura Manila.

“We would like to correct the misperception that all four- or five-star rated accommodation establishments can operate as staycation hotels. For such hotel to accept guests for leisure purposes, it has to apply for a Certificate of Authority to Operate as Staycation (CAOS) hotel,” Puyat said earlier.

“With the authority is the responsibility to strictly adhere to the minimum health and safety guidelines. One has to pass the rigid inspection to ascertain that measures and systems are put in place and diligently practiced on a daily basis. It cannot, above all things, concurrently operate as a quarantine facility,”she added.