At least 21 hotels in Eastern Visayas are ready to be used as quarantine facilities if there will be a spike of Covid-9 cases in the region due to Omicron variant, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Friday.
Considering their experience in managing quarantine hotels, these accommodation facilities are prepared to shift their operations from accepting guests to housing returning residents, DOT Eastern Visayas regional director Karina Rosa Tiopes said
“It would be okay for them to revert into quarantine hotels since no tourists would check in if Covid-19 cases will go up. I’m sure they will be prioritized by their local governments and the Department of Health (DOH),” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
At the height of the pandemic last year, 21 hotels in the region were used as quarantine facilities for suspected carriers of Covid-19. Most of these hotels are in the city, the regional capital.
Currently, only one hotel remains as a quarantine facility and it is located in Ormoc City.
In preparation for the reuse of quarantine hotels, the DOT has been advocating to prioritize hotel workers in the administration of booster shots against Covid-19.
At least 94.7 percent of hotel workers are now fully-vaccinated, Tiopes said.
Meanwhile, the DOT reminded all accredited accommodation facilities in the region to strictly follow all quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Tiopes made the appeal after their main office reiterated the need for hotels to comply with the health protocols.
The DOH-DOT Advisory No. 1 Series of 2021 issued on December 31, 2021, mandates all DOT-accredited accommodation establishments to comply with the necessary testing and quarantine protocols of their guests as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“Quarantine guests should be strictly monitored and are not allowed to check-out of the hotel, leave its premises, or commingle with other guests until the release of their negative RT-PCR test or upon clearance by the Bureau of Quarantine,” she said.
Under the advisory, also prohibited is the isolation or accommodating guests confirmed as Covid-19 carrier in DOT-accredited quarantine hotels, multiple-use hotels, and regular hotels.
Tiopes said guests who will test positive will need to be transferred to an isolation facility, while management must inform and coordinate with authorities for contact tracing.
Violators of quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards may face criminal liability under Republic Act No. 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
Violators may also be penalized with a fine from PHP20,000 to PHP50,000 or face imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months.
The chief executive officer, president, general manager, or other officers in charge of the accommodation establishment are also liable for the violations.
The DOT may also impose penalties against the management of the accommodation establishment under DOT guidelines such as suspension, revocation, or cancellation of DOT Accreditation.
Business permits and licenses to operate of the establishment may also be canceled according to the law.
Source: Philippines News Agency