The series of restrictions imposed by the Province of Guimaras to arrest the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic now has borne favorable impacts particularly to the tourism umbrella of the island.
As the COVID-19 cases in the province continue to decline, tourism-related travels and activities for both residents and non-residents will be allowed in the island effective next week, November 16, 2021.
Governor Samuel T. Gumarin, today, issued Executive Order (EO) No. 49 allowing the said travels and activities but only for fully vaccinated individuals.
“Ang probinsiya sang Guimaras, like any other provinces, naga pahibalo nga we are about to open our tourism sa probinsiya sang Guimaras come November 16, provided that all visitors nga makadto sa probinsiya may iga-presentar nga vaccination card,” Gumarin said.
The said EO provides that, for the said purpose, an individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if they qualify under “equal or more than to two weeks after having received the second dose in a 2-dose series”; or “more than or equal to two weeks after having received a single-dose vaccine”.
“Hopefully, we could, together, sa bilog nga Pilipinas makasugod kita liwat pundar sang ekonomiya sang probinsiya sang Guimaras,” he added.
Almost two years of hiatus
After more than 20 months of industry hiatus, the youngest province in the region is now ready to revive tourism as one of its major economic drivers.
Atty. John Edward Gando, Vice Governor, said that the policy will both help in the revival of the tourism sector and reducing the effects of the health crisis
“This recent issuance will jumpstart the tourism industry once again in the province of Guimaras and will definitely cushion the impact of the pandemic to the people in general,” he said.
He lauded the Provincial Government workforce and the COVID-19 Executive Committee Members for this feat.
“We commend this action of the Governor, of the provincial government as a whole, in cooperation with Cong. Ma. Lucille Nava and Dr. JC Rahman Nava and the rest of the COVID-19 Executive Committee members.”
Readiness for reopening
Prior to entry to Guimaras, individuals claiming to be fully vaccinated must present his/her Vaccination Card or Vaccination Certificate issued by the government before the provincial government screening team stationed in Iloilo City.
Further, resorts and commercial tourist destinations shall require guests to present such card or certificate prior to their admission to the venue and/or destination.
Ms. Liberty N. Ferrer, tourism officer in charge, said that the tourism industry groups were gathered to discuss the said EO and new protocols related to the re-opening.
She also cited the need for the prioritization of accredited establishments.
“For the moment, we need to comply with the IATF guidelines on minors and we are encouraging that our tourists shall only prioritize our DOT accredited enterprises, she said.
“For their information, they may check this list of enterprises through the Facebook of the Provincial Tourism Office”, she added.
Ferrer further encouraged other tourism workers to get vaccinated and shared that around 70% of the workforce has been vaccinated.
Moreover, it is likewise highlighted that the minimum public health standards must still be observed.
Meanwhile, the movement of minors, according to the said EO shall be dealt with in accordance with existing IATF guidelines.
New normal compliance
Contact sports such as basketball, among others, shall be allowed provincewide but must be limited to the 50% capacity of the venue and all participating individuals must be fully vaccinated.
The general public is also reminded comply with the applicable provisions of Provincial Ordinance No. 2020-04 otherwise known as “An Ordinance Prescribing for Measures and Policies against Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases in the Province, thereby establishing the New Normal in connection therewith”, and Republic Act No. 11332, otherwise known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public of Public Health Concern Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
As of November 8, 2021, Guimaras has registered a total of 3,146 cases, 158 deaths and only 18 active cases (Buenavista – 6, Jordan -3, Nueva Valencia-6, San Lorenzo-1, Sibunag-2).