After months of quarantine, businesses are starting to reopen in Palawan
. Along with establishments such as restaurants and malls, popular tourist attractions
were also opened to locals in order to reboot the local economy.
Last June 6, several tourism activities such as scuba diving, island hopping, and land-based tours have been reopened only to residents of the Calamian group of islands, which includes Busuanga, Calauit, Coron, and Culion. In addition, popular tourist attractions
like the Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Barracuda Lake were reopened to tourists last June 12.
The municipal inter-agency task force (MIATF) has allowed the resumption of tourism, with local tourists as the current targets since there are no inbound travels from mainland Palawan. To ensure safety, the rules for modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are required to be followed.
Restrictions are also implemented in terms of activities and age. Only 250 people per day are allowed on island tours and beaches. For scuba diving, only 30 persons will be accommodated daily. Only people between 21 and 60 who have valid IDs and documents with proof of residence are allowed to avail the tours, and local tourists are required to secure a permit from the local Philippine Coast Guard station. Tourist boats will also be limited to carry half of their original passenger capacity to enforce strict social distancing. Hand sanitizers and alcohols should also be provided to guests by boat operators.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear when persons outside Palawan will be allowed to visit the tourist spots. The Department of Tourism (DOT) previously stated that leisure travels will be allowed under MGCQ areas, but residents under GCQ cannot travel to MGCQ places
The DOT also announced in a virtual conference last June 6 that several of the country’s travel hotspots made plans to reopen this midyear, but the number of visitors will be limited to lessen the spread of COVID-19. The department also plans to implement a ‘travel bubble’ that has been practiced by nearby ASEAN countries. The travel bubble will prioritize tourist destinations in areas that are COVID-free or have a low number of cases.