BACOLOD

Sipalay City extends tourism ban anew

SIPALAY. A scenic sunset view at Poblacion Beach in Sipalay City, one of the major tourist destinations in Negros Occidental. (Jerick Lacson)

THE Sipalay City Government has again extended the ban on tourism-related and non-essential travels within its jurisdiction until October 15.

On Wednesday, September 30, Mayor Gina Lizares issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-040 extending the moratorium for another 15 days.

Lizares, in the EO, said in response to the general community quarantine (GCQ) status of Bacolod City, which started October 1, the Sipalay City Government and the local inter-agency task force (IATF) deemed it necessary to complement the IATF-Emerging Infectious Disease resolution by extending the moratorium.

"The acceptance of tourists and travelers from outside Sipalay City to visit relatives and friends are still not allowed," she said, adding that "pending the meeting and decision of the IATF, barangays, accommodation establishments and resort owners on October 1, new guidelines will be set."

This moratorium extension may be lifted earlier than October 15 once the additional tourism measures are put in place, the order stated.

Tagged as the "Jewel of the Sugar Island," Sipalay City is one of the top contributors of tourist arrivals in the province.

The southern Negros Occidental city is known for its natural attractions including white-sand beaches, crystal-clear water, breathtaking dive sites and resorts, and scenic sunset views, among other tourism offerings.

Also, it is actively promoting sustainable tourism. It hosts a protected marine sanctuary, and implements zero-waste project, cave management and community-based ecotourism program, among others.

On August 14, the local government first imposed a 17-day moratorium on tourism-related and non-essential travel to curb the increasing local transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the province.

The directive, which took effect until August 31, is provided in Executive Order (EO) 2020-033 issued by Lizares.

The ban was extended until September 15, through EO 2020-034. Another order, EO 2020-035, was issued by the mayor extending the moratorium until September 30.

Under the directive, all pre-booked accommodations of tourists covered by the duration of the moratorium will be rebooked or refunded by the resorts and accommodation establishments depending on the arrangement between the establishments and the clients.

During the moratorium, also prohibited are visits to relatives and friends, church-related activities, school-related transactions, and house-to-house retail selling.

The directive also stated that all travelers coming from or going to any declared high-risk areas shall not be allowed to enter or reenter Sipalay City.

Returning residents from high-risk areas are required to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.

Allowed to travel to Sipalay are persons with medical-related transactions, business transactions with 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.


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