1 year jail time or P5,000-fine for tourists who break COVID-19 rules in Cebu

The Cebu Provincial Board has issued an ordinance imposing a one-year jail time or a P5,000-fine on tourists and owners of tourism establishments found violating the Cebu government's safety protocols against COVID-19.

The Cebu Provincial Board approved the ordinance during its September 28 session, to promote compliance to the health and safety guidelines laid down in Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order No. 20-A, said Cebu 5th District board member Andrei Duterte, chairman of the board’s tourism committee and the main sponsor of the tourism ordinance.

“Kung EO ra man gud ang i-pass...naa man gu’y uban establishments na di mopatuo sa protocol. So, mao na among gihimo into an ordinance. Para naa’y penalty clause para mo-ensure na ang tanan gyud na establishment and stakeholders sa province, mosunod gyud sa EO,” he said.

(Some establishments may freely violate the protocols if there's just an EO. Which is why we made it into an ordinance. So there will now be a penalty clause that would ensure the compliance of establishments and stakeholders.)

Under the EO, guests are required to book their stay through an online portal. Apart from the standard face mask and face shield, tourists are also strictly required to wear air purifiers while participating in tourism activities. 

Air purifiers retail for about P500 to P8,000. Currently, there is no recommendation yet from the Department of Health (DOH) on the use of air purifiers or ionizers to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus disease. 

EO 20-A directs tourists who do not own personal air purifiers to rent disinfected and sanitized air purifiers available in their respective hotels or resorts. 

EO 20-A also lays down general guidelines to be observed by tourism establishments in their respective reception areas, the welcoming of visitors, briefing and orientation, management of safety gear and equipment, the destination’s workforce, and even souvenir items, along with specific guidelines for each of the allowed tourism activities.

Cebu province, which is heavily reliant on tourism, has been under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), where non-essential activities are allowed. It revived its tourism industry back on August 1.

With the lack of inbound international flights, residents in the province have been encouraged to take part in the revival of tourism in Cebu. 

According to data from the Department of Health Central Visayas, Cebu province has recorded a total of 5,627 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 521 are active cases, 4,753 have recovered, and 353 died. – Rappler.com