Port Barton, San Vicente. // Image file by Celeste Anna Formoso

Beach marshals overseeing health protocol compliance is among the conditions set by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the future reopening of beaches and resorts under the new normal.

Under the “Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operation of Island and Beach Destinations under the New Normal” signed by Tourism Secretary Bernadette-Romulo-Puyat, the beach marshals may be designated by the local government unit to ensure that guests observe the minimum health protocols at all times.

This will be in addition to the lifeguards on duty during prescribed swimming hours.

“The DOT maintains its commitment to safely resume tourism in the Philippines under a ‘new normal’,” Romulo-Puyat said, adding that participation and cooperation are key to the guidelines’ effective implementation.

Under the guidelines, mass gatherings and group events including sports competition, youth camps, and other activities that gather crowds must comply with the health and safety protocols of the national and local governments.

“In a new normal scenario where no quarantine classification is imposed, swimming, surfing, running, walking, and other forms of outdoor non-contact sports and exercises will be allowed in our island and beach destinations, as long as minimum public health standards are strictly observed,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Restrooms must also meet the requirements and qualifications prescribed under the Asean Public Toilet standards, she added.

Guests are also required to undergo a mandatory screening at the port of entry, while guests who intend to stay for at least one night must present their confirmed hotel or resort bookings during the screening process.

Guests who intend to make last-minute bookings can do so at the port of entry, where a directory of DOT-accredited establishments will be made available.

Those who have no confirmed bookings will be allowed entry at the destination, provided that they have joined a day tour package, or have an outbound ticket on the same day.

The DOT will also require all tourism establishments to adopt contactless or digital modes of taking reservations and payments.

Concessions, shops, peddlers, ambulant vendors, and food vending would remain strictly prohibited at beaches. Setting up chairs, canopies, grills and other ancillary temporary structures are not allowed.

“The DOT prioritizes the safety of tourism stakeholders, workers, guests, and the communities on our island and beach destinations. While we await the time when we can visit these destinations, I encourage everyone to educate ourselves with all the protocols,” Romulo-Puyat said. (PNA)