April 18, 2021 (9:58 AM)

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The white-sand beaches of Kaputian continue to attract tourists both from within and beyond Davao Region, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Gwyneth Marie Vasquez

DAVAO CITY – Six weeks after reopening its 73 resorts, the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) will implement stricter guidelines for visitors and tourists following reports of lax measures in some establishments that led to the rise of COVID-19 infection in the city.

Igacos Mayor Al David Uy guested in the Kasikas sa Probinsya program on Thursday at the local government owned Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 FM, and said that the non-compliance of some establishments to minimum health protocols and QR code scanning were factors to the increase in cases.

Igacos recorded 19 new cases on April 7, the highest single-day tally since Igacos recorded its first COVID-19 case in May 2020, according to data from Igacos Inter-Agency Task Force COVID-19 Facebook page.

The additional guidelines are detailed in Executive Order 284 amending an earlier EO.

In the previous EO, non-Samal residents and tourists are required to pre-book with a resort and secure a tourist QR code before they can enter the city. Now, Samal residents will be required to make a reservation days before they can be allowed to access tourism facilities.

The EO also retains the prohibition on walk-in guests and minors without accompanying adults.

Executive Order No. 284 is effective from April 14 to April 30, 2021.

The operating capacity of resorts will be further reduced from 75% to 60% of its work force. This includes all resort facilities, as well as the conduct of weddings, birthdays, and the like.

While the risks to health remain, Uy said it would be ‘counterproductive’ to revert to a total lockdown as it will affect the city’s income which relies mainly on tourists and visitors.

“Ang total lockdown man gud counterproductive pud siya kay mag suffer ang economy nimo so karon gi balanse nato (A total lockdown would be counterproductive because our economy will suffer, so we have to keep the balance),” Uy said during the program.

“We open up tourism and then we do testing, kung naay mag positive i-isolate nato (If there are positive cases we isolate them). I think that is the best course of action (we can do while we wait for the mass vaccination),” he said.

Uy said he is open to relaxing the restrictions if the health situation improves in a few weeks’ time.

“Two weeks tanawon nato kay kung makaluy-an sa Ginoo medyo mu gwapo gwapo, ibalik napud nato og 75. Ana lang kumbaga danggit danggit lang ning atoa, anod anod lang kay unsaon taman naa paman gyud ning pandemya. Balancing act sa ta nga dili ma yayay ang ekonomiya og dili pud ma sakripisyo ang health sa katawhan,”

(We shall see In the next two weeks, if God’s merciful things will turn out good, we will restore it to 75%. We just have to go with the tide, because we are still in the pandemic. We’ll do this balancing act between not hurting the economy and not sacrificing our health,) he said.

This article was first published in davaotoday.com



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