BACOLOD CITY – The City of Sipalay in Negros Occidental will bar tourists without pre-booked accommodations from March 31 to April 5 as a precaution amid the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Based on the advisory of the local inter-agency task force released on Tuesday, those who will be denied entry are day-trippers, day travelers, excursionists, and those who will travel for sightseeing within the day, while walk-in arrangements for overnight or multiple nights stay will not also be allowed.
“This is in response to the current cases in Sipalay City and the increase of new cases in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City. As much as we want to cater to all guests who would like to have a break from the negativity brought by the pandemic, we are more inclined to secure the safety of our locals and community while continuing the slow recovery of our tourism industry,” City Tourism Office headed by Jerick Lacson said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The southern Negros city, known for its beautiful beaches and breathtaking dive sites, is the top tourist destination in the province, and for this year’s Holy Week, all its accommodation establishments are already fully-booked, records show.
The City Tourism Office said that all guests with pre-arranged booking in Department of Tourism-accredited and local government unit-licensed accommodation establishments from March 31 to April 5 will be subject to border checkpoint verification.
Meanwhile, resort-hopping, city tours, tricycle tours are not yet allowed in Sipalay.
Starting March 17, Sipalay has allowed entry of travelers from other parts of Western Visayas and has also eliminated the need for travel documents for visitors within Negros Occidental.
“Region 6 travelers shall now be allowed entry to the city provided they follow provincial and the local government requirements,” Mayor Maria Gina Lizares said in Executive Order 2021-006 issued on March 16.
As of March 30, Sipalay has 17 active cases out of the total 159 confirmed cases. (PNA)