Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat (PNA file photo)

The Department of Tourism has issued “new normal” guidelines for accommodation establishments (AEs) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Released on May 25, the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operations of Accommodation Establishments covers the operations of AEs in the areas of guest handling, reception and concierge, rooms and housekeeping, food and beverage service, kitchen sanitation and disinfection, public areas, hotel, and transport service, engineering, and maintenance service, business practices and management, and suppliers of goods and services.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured stakeholders this would “prove responsive” to the needed changes amid the health crisis.

“The tourism sector, with the support of the government, will recover and resume once travel restrictions have been lifted following the safety protocols and measures for the new normal in travel,” she said.

Under Section 5 of the guidelines, an AE is required to have the guests complete a health declaration form upon check-in, to encourage online payment upon booking, and to conduct body temperature checking using a thermal scanner.

Only guests cleared during screening shall be allowed to enter the hotel perimeter to check-in.

The guidelines further state that guests must be provided with reminder cards, which may include the following:

1) No sharing of food or any personal or non-personal belongings;
2) Proper disposal of used PPE;
3) Mingling with occupants of other rooms are not encouraged;
4) The practice of proper hand washing etiquette/hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper use of face mask;
5) Strict observance of physical distancing.



It also highlighted precautionary measures on physical distancing, hand cleaning, and respiratory etiquette, including the use of disposable gloves when handling cash or documents.

The practice of the Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) or the “Mabuhay” gesture in greeting guests, as well as other forms of contactless greeting, was also encouraged.

In addition, only single up to double room occupancy will be allowed.

“Couples or family members who share the same household may be allowed in double or twin occupancy rooms. A distance of 1-2 meters between the beds is highly encouraged,” the DOT said.

Meanwhile, Section 15 of the guidelines directs that symptomatic guests must be confined in the room he/she originally used until trained transport providers are available.

“The staff must immediately inform the doctor on duty or the emergency response team for assistance for coordination to the referral hospital or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) for assessment if any staff is concerned about the condition of a guest, or if a guest requests access to medical services,” the agency said.

The DOT also reminded staff and personnel to avoid any discriminatory action against any sick person with high fever and cough for fear of contracting or spreading the disease. (PNA)