The world-famous Boracay
Island is also affected by the novel coronavirus
(COVID-19) outbreak in the Philippines. The Province of Aklan was placed on enhanced community quarantine under Executive Order 20, prohibiting all private and public offices, business and commercial establishments to operate during the period. A curfew of 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM was also implemented as another measure against the novel coronavirus
. The order was signed by Governor Florencio Miraflores on March 22, 2020, and is effective from March 23 to April 14, 2020, unless extended.
Public markets, supermarkets, pharmacies, medical facilities, water-refilling stations, banks and financial institutions, and public utilities like energy, power, water, and telecommunication companies are allowed to operate. Also, public and private transportation are allowed on the streets if they follow the guidelines set for the number of passengers per vehicle. To add, food establishments with takeouts or delivery services can be accessed by consumers.
Meanwhile, individuals who are at high risk are expected to observe the 24-hour home quarantine. This covers people who are 60 years old and above, pregnant women, minors, and those who are immunocompromised and with co-morbidities. Unless there is an emergency or a need to purchase basic necessities, only one capable person in each household can go out.
Under the order, foreign and local tourists are not allowed to set foot on Boracay as well. Meanwhile, residents who have valid identification, medical doctors and practitioners, personnel working and delivering goods, municipal and barangay officials and national government officers are still allowed to enter the town.
Even before the quarantine, the pandemic has already pained the tourism industry of Aklan as the number of tourists sharply declined since the outbreak of coronavirus . The percentage declined to 40 percent with 172,695 tourists in February 2019 dropping to 103,834 in February 2020. Tourism establishments were forced to drop their rates up to 50 percent as well.
Meanwhile, as many as 500 tourists who arrived prior to the issuance of the executive order have been stranded on the island . The Department of Tourism (DOT) has arranged recovery flights from March 21 and 22 to fly the tourists to Manila, where they can take interconnecting flights to their destinations . Meanwhile, another batch of 500 tourists “have listed themselves after the initial 500” and were set to be ferried from the island on March 26, according to Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista.
While private business sectors in Boracay continue to bear the negative effects of the COVID-19 threat, municipality officers assure locals that they are doing their best to protect the island from the virus.
Go to Yoorekka
to get more updates on Boracay.