MANILA, Philippines – The government has prohibited hotels and similar establishments from accepting bookings during the “enhanced community quarantine” of Luzon meant to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced the operating guidelines of the lockdown, including this restriction on hotel operations, in a media conference that ran from late Tuesday night, March 17, until past midnight on March 18.
Hotels and other hospitality businesses may only operate during the lockdown if:
- They have guests who booked their stay on or before March 17.
- They have guests who have existing long-term leases.
- They are housing employees of establishments exempted from the lockdown.
The lockdown order issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea exempts health workers, security forces, media personnel, and employees of essential services such as groceries, drug stores, and local governments.
Besides these restrictions, hotel operations must be limited to “the provision of basic lodging to guests,” the guidelines stated as read out by Nograles.
The government earlier temporarily banned the entry of non-Filipinos and non-residents of the Philippines from countries with local transmissions of the novel coronavirus. The move is bound to impact the tourism and hospitality industries.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila under “community quarantine” on Sunday, March 15, and then ratcheted up the measure on Tuesday, March 17, to an “enhanced community quarantine” covering the entire island of Luzon. (READ: GUIDELINES: Luzon ‘enhanced community quarantine’)
With a population of more than 57 million, Luzon residents comprise roughly half of the national population. Other parts of the country have also declared community quarantines to quell the coronavirus. (LIST: Areas in PH under quarantine, curfews, state of calamity)
In areas on lockdown, malls and other non-essential commercial establishments are urged to temporarily close or scale down operations until the quarantine period is lifted.
Metro Manila is set to be locked down until April 14. The rest of Luzon will be on lockdown until April 12.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines has had 187 confirmed cases of infection, 14 deaths, and 4 recoveries.
Experts posit that the number of local cases may reach 26,000 by the end of March if the current spread of the virus is not contained.
The global death toll, meanwhile, has reached 7,063, with 3,226 of the fatalities in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 180,090, with more than 80,881 of the infections in China. The virus has spread to at least 145 countries. – Rappler.com