Boracay Island, one of the many tourist destinations affected by the ongoing community quarantine, is gradually opening its borders in an effort to jumpstart local economy. It has initially lifted the swimming ban on June 1, allowing local residents to enjoy the island's white-sand beach. By June 16, residents coming from Western Visayas (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental) were allowed to enter Boracay.
On October 1, the island will finally open its doors to tourists from all over the Philippines—including regions that are still under general community quarantine.
This news was announced by the Department of Tourism on September 23, following a meeting attended by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force chairperson and Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary Roy Cimatu, Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año, Department of Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and Aklan governor Florencio Miraflores.
"The reopening of Boracay to new market sources signals a gathering momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. We are pleased that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force and the local government units of the Province of Aklan and Municipality of Malay have agreed to put health and safety as the priority as we carefully and safely welcome more guests to the island," Puyat said.
One of the measures during the reopening is the Test Before Travel regulation, which requires tourists to take an RT-PCR test (or swab test) from 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay. They should, of course, be negative of the COVID-19 virus. They're also advised to go on strict quarantine immediately after the test and until the time of travel. Residents coming from areas under General Community Quarantine as well as travelers of all ages are allowed to go island. Local tourists are also asked to fill out an online health declaration form and show their confirmed booking at an accredited hotel or resort.
Airlines are advised to use the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan as the only airport of entry. Kalibo, Aklan also now has its own COVID-19 laboratory at Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo. Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital in Boracay has also been accredited to be a Level 1 trauma hospital.
The Department of Tourism has so far issued Certificates of Authority to Operate to 199 hotels and resorts, representing 4,416 rooms on the island.
*This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.