The City of Sipalay in Negros Occidental has resumed tourist activities in select areas as the province shifted into modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting June 1.
In Executive Order (EO) 2020-023, Mayor Maria Gina Lizares outlined the guidelines for tourists, accommodation establishments, tourism-related enterprises, and tourism service providers, a copy of which was posted on the city government’s official Facebook page on Wednesday.
Sipalay, located about 175 kilometers south of Bacolod, is dubbed “The Jewel of Sugar Island” for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, attracting both foreign and domestic tourists.
Starting June 2, tourists and guests allowed to enter Sipalay City are residents of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, the city’s locals, and foreigners who are in the province before March 1.
Allowed tourism activities are overnight accommodations for locals and non-local tourists; visits to public beaches for locals and checked-in tourists; and day excursions in resorts for locals only.
Tourist areas already opened are Poblacion Beach, Sugar Beach, Nauhang Beach, Cartagena Beach, Mayha/Montay Beach, and Cayhagan Beaches.
Punta Ballo Beach and Campomanes Beach are limited and controlled areas for locals and checked-in tourists.
Still not open for tourism activities are Anjauan Island, Maasin Island, Malinab Lagoon, Patio-tio Spring, and all caves in Sipalay.
Also, day tours such as trike tours, resort hopping, and island hopping are still prohibited.
Under the MGCQ, resumption of operation of accommodation establishments and tourism-related enterprises shall be at a maximum of 50 percent operational and venue capacity.
Moreover, permitted non-contact sports and physical activities include walking, jogging, running, golf, tennis, badminton, equestrian, skateboarding, mountain biking, biking, trail riding, and kite flying.
Swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, paddle boats, surfing, skimboarding, and fishing are also now allowed.
According to EO 2020-023, all incoming tourists are required to fill out an inbound form and a health declaration form and should comply with the minimum health and safety standards such as the mandatory wearing of face masks, frequent handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and physical distancing.
Establishments have the right to refuse entry of tourists who do not follow the precautionary measures and those who have signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the order said.
When Negros Occidental was placed under enhanced community quarantine from March to April, most of the foreign tourists, particularly Europeans, stranded in the province were those staying in Sipalay. (Nanette Guadalquiver ndb)