Safety marshalls to ensure physical distancing when beaches, resorts reopen

Lifeguards will not be the only ones on patrol when the beaches and resorts reopen for business under the tourism industry’s “new normal.” Safety marshalls will also be on site to ensure physical distancing.

And don’t be surprised if you find the restrooms cleaner and better this time.

These are among the conditions contained in the guidelines released by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the reopening of beaches, resorts and other tourist destinations in the country.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-007 or the “Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operation of Island and Beach Destinations under the New Normal” on Monday (September 7). This is one among several established standards to warrant the safe reopening of the country to tourism.

Under the guidelines, local government units (LGUs) may designate safety marshalls to ensure physical distancing among guests at all times. This will be in addition to the lifeguards on duty during prescribed swimming hours.

“The DOT maintains its commitment to safely resume tourism in the Philippines under a ‘New Normal’,” the tourism chief said. She added that participation and cooperation are key to the effective implementation of the guidelines.

Puyat stressed that under the guidelines, mass gatherings and group events including sports competition, youth camps, and other activities that gather crowds must comply with the health and safety protocols of the national and local governments.

“In a new normal scenario where no quarantine classification is imposed, swimming, surfing, running, walking, and other forms of outdoor non-contact sports and exercises will be allowed in our island and beach destinations, as long as minimum public health standards are strictly observed,” Puyat said.

Restrooms, she said, must also meet the requirements and qualifications prescribed under the ASEAN Public Toilet standards.

The guidelines require guests to undergo a mandatory screening at the port of entry, while guests who intend to stay for at least one night must also present their confirmed hotel or resort bookings during the screening process.

Guests who intend to make last-minute bookings can do so at the port of entry, where a directory of DOT-accredited establishments will also be made available. Those who have no confirmed bookings will be allowed entry at the destination, provided that they have joined a day tour package, or have an outbound ticket on the same day. The DOT will also require all tourism establishments to adopt contactless or digital modes of taking reservations and payments.

Concessions, shops, peddlers, ambulant vendors, and food vending will remain strictly prohibited at beaches. So are chairs, canopies, grills and other ancillary temporary structures.

“The DOT prioritizes the safety of tourism stakeholders, workers, guests, and the communities in our island and beach destinations. While we await the time when we can visit these destinations, I encourage everyone to educate ourselves with all the protocols. Let us work together in making tourism under a New Normal a safe yet fun experience for all,” Puyat said.

Additionally, the tourism chief signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 2020-004 titled “Guidelines for Leisure and Tourism Operations of Island and Beach Destinations under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ),” which reiterates the DOT’s strict adherence to the existing rules set by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on interzonal movement, health and safety standards, and leisure and tourism activity in island and beach destinations under the MGCQ classification.

For the full text of the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operation of Island and Beach Destinations under the New Normal, please visit:

To access the Guidelines for Leisure and Tourism Operations of Island and Beach Destinations under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), please visit:

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