MANILA (UPDATE) - Staycation in the National Capital Region and its four surrounding provinces, or the so-called NCR Plus, is temporarily not allowed during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine from Monday until next Sunday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Saturday.
In a statement, the DOT said "only accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) operating as quarantine facilities are allowed to operate" in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal while ECQ is imposed.
"The operation of staycation hotels is temporarily suspended during the said period," it added.
But guests already billeted in these establishments by midnight of Sunday are allowed to continue staying until the end of their original booking, the DOT said in a statement Sunday.
"No new bookings will be allowed for the week," it said.
The agency thanked "staycation hotels for allowing their clients to rebook without penalties" as it acknowledged their support "for a healthy and safe tourism industry."
Staycation for those aged between 15 and 65 was allowed within the NCR Plus bubble when the areas were placed under general community quarantine with additional restrictions, set from March 22 until April 4, Tourism Secretary Bernadette-Romulo Puyat had said.
That declaration, however, was superseded by the government's decision on Saturday to impose ECQ in the same areas to curb the alarming rise in COVID-19 infections in the country.
"Let us exercise discretion and contribute dito sa ginagawa nating tulong-tulong at sama-samang pagbaba ng kaso," Ret. Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the National Task Force against COVID-19. told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Sunday.
(Let us exercise discretion and contribute in our efforts to lower virus cases.)
"Upang di mailagay sa alanganin ang inyong pamilya, kung pupuwede ay i-postpone na lang natin nang saglit."
(Postpone it for your family's safety.)
The DOT has classified accommodation establishments into three, namely:
1. Isolation facilities, for COVID-19 positive guests;
2. Quarantine hotels, for individuals who must undergo quarantine, such as returning overseas Filipinos, foreign nationals allowed entry into the country, those unable to quarantine in their homes, and health workers who need accommodation near their place of work; and,
3. Regular hotels, which are neither isolation facilities nor quarantine hotels, and are issued Certificates of Authority to Operate for Staycation. In the DOT advisory, regular hotels in areas under ECQ and MECQ can only accommodate guests with long-term leases, locally stranded individuals or those transiting to their place of residence, and authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) pursuant to their official duties.
The DOT advised these accredited establishments to strictly enforce minimum health and safety guidelines, and quarantine protocols.
"Violators are warned of the penalties which include fines, suspension and cancellation of accreditation, depending on the gravity of offense," the agency said.
It said that under ECQ and MECQ, only a skeleton workforce and in-house staff with free accommodations within the premises of these establishments are allowed.
"Regardless of quarantine status, ancillary facilities and services like restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms, spas, swimming pools, and conference or function halls are prohibited unless permitted by the Department of Health or the Bureau of Quarantine to prepare packed meals for staff and guests or for takeout and delivery to the public," it added.
Padilla reiterated that travel outside the bubble for leisure purposes is prohibited.
The Philippines on Saturday logged another record number of new infections at 9,595, with active cases breaching the 118,000-mark.
The day's new COVID-19 cases, the second highest announced by the Department of Health (DOH) since the pandemic hit the country over a year ago, pushed the country's cumulative tally to 712,442.
It is also the 3rd straight day that the day's fresh cases exceeded 8,000, data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group showed.