MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday slammed a Halloween party held in Boracay which allegedly violated health protocols against COVID-19, and said it fully supports the shutdown of the establishment that accommodated partygoers.
As co-vice chairman of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the agency said the “irresponsible” mass gathering at Casa de Arte in Sitio Cagban, Barangay Manoc-Manoc on Oct. 31 would not be tolerated.
The partygoers were reportedly not observing physical distancing and violated face mask protocols. This came a month into the island's reopening on Oct. 1 following months of closure because of the pandemic.
“The DOT strongly reminds the local government, stakeholders as well as guests of the island to strictly observe the duly prescribed health and safety guidelines as determined by the IATF on the emerging infectious diseases,” the statement read.
The DOT also supports the recommendation of the Boracay inter-agency rehabilitation management group to close down Casa de Arte, which apparently lacked a business permit and necessary clearances.
Malay town Mayor Frolibar Bautista, meanwhile, earlier told Teleradyo that organizers of the Halloween party were already fined P5,000,
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said while the establishment did not need the department’s accreditation to take in guests, it would be in the public’s best interest for local government units and businesses alike to make sure that the island’s reopening is safe.
“The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence. We urge our LGUs to please take our health and safety protocols seriously,” said Puyat.
The tourist island has remained free of COVID-19 since March, when it recorded 1 case due to a health worker contracting the virus, the mayor said.