MANILA— Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals may visit reopened parks in Manila following the region's shift to Alert Level 4, the tourism chief said Saturday, as restrictions remain in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Masaya ang Department of Tourism kasi under Alert Level 4 bukas nga 'yung outdoor tourist attractions so bukas ang Intramuros at bukas ang Rizal Park. Maganda ito at least may pupuntahan ang ating mga kababayan within Metro Manila na outdoor tourist attraction,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said on TeleRadyo.
(We at the Department of Tourism are happy that under Alert Level 4, outdoor tourist attractions are now open so Intramuros and Rizal Park are open. This is good, at least people within Metro Manila can now go and visit outdoor tourist attractions.)
While parks are open to individuals no matter the vaccination status, there will be express lanes for vaccinated visitors, she said.
Rizal Park will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. with a maximum capacity of 500 visitors at any given time, according to the DOT.
Fort Santiago, meanwhile, will be open from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays with a maximum capacity of 150 visitors at any given time.
Baluarte de San Diego will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will accommodate a maximum of 80 people at a time. Entrance fees for both sites remain at P75 for regular visitors, and P50 for discounted eligible visitors such as seniors, students and persons with disability.
Entrance to Plaza San Luis remains free of charge, but it is only open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
The sites are open only to those between 18 and 65 years old.
TOURISM HIT HARD
Puyat said that more than 1 million workers in the tourism industry have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Tourism was the hardest hit. Ang leisure, kapag tumataas ang kaso 'yun ang unang nawawala. It’s hard to say kung ilan ang magkakatrabaho pero at least masaya kami na nagbukas na,” said Puyat.
(Tourism was the hardest hit. When cases increase, it is the leisure industry that first closes down. It’s hard to say how many will return to work but at least we're happy that it's now open.)
Under Alert Level 4, restaurants are also allowed to operate, with dine-in at 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, and al fresco at 30 percent capacity.
Puyat said 99 percent of hotel workers are already fully vaccinated, with 94 percent among those working in DOT-accredited restaurants having the same status.
Puyat said interzonal travel is also allowed under Alert Level 4 so those coming from the capital region may now travel to areas under general community quarantine or modified GCQ that are already accepting tourists.
“Sana tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbaba ng mga kaso. Kami naman sa Department of Tourism talagang we will make sure 'yung ating mga hotel ay sususunod sa mga minimum health and safety protocols para ma-increase natin eventually 'yung pwedeng kumain sa labas at eventually no more age restrictions,” she said.
(We hope cases would go down. We will make sure that hotels will comply with the minimum health and safety protocols so that eventually we can increase capacity and eventually no more age restrictions.)
Puyat is likewise thankful that tourism workers in top tourist destinations like Boracay, Baguio, Siargao, Bohol and Palawan have also been vaccinated.
In Boracay, 73 percent of active tourism workers have been inoculated. In Baguio, the figure is at 100 percent.
“When we talk about tourism workers hindi natin pinag-uusapan yung nagtatrabaho lang sa hotel. Like for example sa Baguio, kasama dito yung pony boy, sa mga tricycle, tour operator, sa mga restaurant. Sa Boracay yung bangkero, souvenir shop owner o nagtitinda even yung masahista tinatarget naming magpabakuna
(When we talk about tourism wokers, we don’t only talk about those working in the hotels. Like for example in Baguio, tourism workers include the pony boy, the tricycle drivers, tour operator and restaurant. In Boracay, the boatman, souvenir shop owner and worker, and even the masseuse.)
Meanwhile, she also shared that the DOT is resuming its discounted RT-PCR tests for travelers at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
“May partnership kami with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. Ang RT-PCR swab is only P750. The results will come out in 24 hours,” she said.
(We have a partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. The RT-PCR swab is only P750.)
Those traveling to domestic destinations must show proof of booking at a DOT-accredited hotel and a return ticket.