BY JENNYLIND CORDERO
It has been a while since we went to places we often visited in the past.
The pandemic changed man’s movement and put a stop to an excitement for the summer season.
It was my first time in six months to have coffee in the morning with birds chirping nearby, lured by crystal clear waters and the sound of the waves to take the plunge, while watching fishermen casting their nets and circling around striking their hands in the water to make sounds to catch fish; as they were pulling in their nets, there were indeed a lot of fish, a sight to behold of a simple life in the south.
Phoebe, who has been in the tourism business for two decades, was stranded in the south for more than five months and had the chance to fix her resort, added flaglets, signage, markers for social distancing, sanitized foot baths, disinfectants, and barriers at the front desk. Her staff welcomed us while checking our temperature with a thermal scanner, and sprayed alcohol on our hands while wearing face mask and shield, and protective gloves. They were issued a probationary certificate of authority to operate by the Department of Tourism, a requirement for all accommodation establishments to be able to operate again, this is valid for six months and each resort or hotel in the country when inspected and found to be compliant with the accreditation will be issued a Certificate of Authority to Operate, which is mandatory under Republic Act 9593, or the National Tourism Act of 2009.
There are about 40 resorts and hotels in Negros Occidental with probationary certificate of authority awaiting fellow Negrenses to visit and unwind.
There are check points at the border between Negros Oriental and Occidental as well as in Sipalay and Hinobaan.
Certain protocols have to be followed. In Sipalay, a filled out inbound form is required, booking confirmation, only overnight accommodation is allowed and no day trips or island hopping. Visiting multiple resorts is prohibited. A health declaration form should be filled up upon check in, physical distancing is a must, including proper disposal of garbage.
Always remember, wherever you go, there’s a no mask, no entry policy. We have to do the new normal and observe social distancing, safety, security and sanitation.
As we start anew in tourism, enjoy a summer splash in July. Stay safe on your sojourn to the south.*