BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Sipalay City officials will temporarily ban the entry of tourists in their locality due to the spike of COVID-19 cases.
Mayor Maria Gina Lizares issued an executive order on Monday imposing a moratorium on tourism-related and non-essential travel to the city from August 14 to 31.
Under the EO, all pre-booked accommodations of tourists for the duration of the moratorium will be rebooked by the resorts and accommodation establishments.
She said the city reopened its doors to tourists in June following the National Inter-Agency Task Force prescribed 50 percent capacity, but due to the increase of local transmission cases in the province, the city government deemed it important to regulate the entry of individuals.
Lizares said that only essential travel will be allowed in Sipalay. These are medical-related transactions, business transactions to open establishments, government-related transactions, delivery of goods and items, non-residents from non-high-risk areas who are employed in Sipalay, and residents who are employed in non-high-risk areas.
Non-essential travel, meanwhile, is not allowed in Sipalay. These are visits to relatives and friends, Authorized Person outside of Residence from private and government agencies or offices to arrive in the duration of the ban, church-related activities, non-resident property owners, school-related transactions, delivery of construction supplies to private constructions, and house-to-house retail selling.
The mayor said that all travelers coming from and going to any declared high-risk areas shall not be allowed to enter Sipalay, except, for delivery of goods and items, adding that delivery personnel will be required to present their latest medical clearance, company ID, and delivery/travel order.
Lizares also cited the executive order issued by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson adopting additional health requirements for APOR entering the province for official business, emergency travel and indispensable travel.
APOR enjoy the privilege of unrestricted movement throughout the community quarantine status. However, they have become carriers, which heightened the risk in the province, the EO said.
“There have been reports of cluster and community transmissions in some cities and towns in Negros Occidental. Thus, the Sipalay City government, through its local IATF against Covid-19, is taking additional measures to ensure the safety of its residents and guests,” Mayor Lizares said.
Also, the Sipalay IATF needs to recalibrate to prepare for the expected influx of locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipino workers, and APOR and to place additional measures to prevent the local transmission of the virus in the city, the EO further said.*