MANILA - The Department of Tourism on Friday welcomed the move to place Metro Manila under COVID-19 Alert Level 2, saying it will provide greater mobility to all Filipinos of all ages.
The inter-agency task force (IATF) on COVID-19 earlier approved the recommendation to place the capital region under Alert Level 2 from Nov. 5 to 21, down from Level 3 first imposed on Oct. 16.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the shift to Alert Level 2 was an encouraging development.
“We thank our colleagues in the IATF for hearing the plea of our stakeholders to put the (National Capital Region) under Alert Level 2. The eased travel restrictions under this alert level will greatly help tourism businesses bounce back and maximize the opportunities brought by the holiday season," she said in a statement.
“We also expect more Filipinos–especially families with children and elderly–to be able to enjoy our tourist destinations while following minimum health and safety protocols."
Based on the guidelines released by the IATF, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed in areas under the alert level.
Individual outdoor exercises are also allowed for all ages, regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status.
Indoor venues are allowed to accept a maximum of 50 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18, even if unvaccinated. Outdoor venues, on the other hand, are allowed to accommodate up to 70 percent of their capacity.
Puyat reminded adult hotel guests and leisure travelers who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 that they are still required to take an RT-PCR test not more than 48 hours before check-in or arrival.
Travelers who would need to undergo the COVID-19 test were encouraged to avail of the ongoing subsidy program of the DOT’s Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), wherein local tourists can avail of a free RT-PCR test with a daily cap of 350 approved applicants.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos said the average daily attack rate (ADAR) of COVID-19 in the region had already sufficiently gone down.
Asked about the timing of the announcement of Metro Manila’s new quarantine classification, Abalos said it's easier to ease, rather than tighten, quarantine protocols.
Authorities earlier said the alert levels may be raised any time within the implementation period, while de-escalations can only be done at the end of the 2-week assessment period.