THE Department of Tourism (DOT)-Eastern Visayas has reminded all accredited accommodation facilities in the region to strictly observe all quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards set by the national government to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“Upon initial inquiry of the DOT-Eastern Visayas with other establishments, majority are willing to convert into isolation or quarantine facility, if needed, in order to help the government manage the spread of Covid-19,” said Karen Tiopes, regional tourism director.

Previously, the region has 21 accommodation facilities that served as either quarantine or isolation facilities.

At present, only one accommodation facility remains as a quarantine facility located in Ormoc City.

Under Department of Health and DOT Advisory No. 1 Series of 2021 issued on December 31, 2021, it mandated that all DOT-accredited accommodation establishments shall comply with the necessary testing and quarantine protocols of their guests as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Quarantine guests shall be strictly monitored and are not be allowed to check-out of the hotel, leave its premises, or commingle with other guests until the release of their negative RT-PCR test or upon clearance by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), DOT said in a statement.

Under the advisory, also prohibited is the isolation or accommodating of confirmed Covid-19 positive guests in DOT-accredited quarantine hotels, multiple-use hotels, and regular hotels.

Guests who will test positive will need to be transferred to an isolation facility, while management must inform and coordinate with the BOQ for the conduct of contact tracing.

Violators of quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards may face criminal liability under Section 9 of Republic Act (RA) 11332, otherwise known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, which mandates the cooperation of everybody in a public health crisis.

Violators may also be penalized with a fine from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, depending on the discretion of the proper court.

The chief executive officer, president, general manager, or other officer in charge of the accommodation establishment are also liable for the violation.

The DOT may also impose penalties against the management of the accommodation establishment under DOT guidelines such as suspension, revocation, or cancellation of DOT accreditation.

Business permits and licenses to operate the establishment may also be canceled pursuant to Section 10 of RA 11332. (SunStar Philippines)