The operations of hotels, resorts, and similar establishments will be “limited” during the duration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to prevent exposure to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a press briefing in Malacañang late Tuesday night, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said hotels will no longer be allowed to operate, but there are some exceptions.
Hotels will only be allowed to accommodate foreigners with existing booking accommodations as of March 17, guests with existing long-term leases, and employees who are exempted from the quarantine, Nograles said.
However, hotels will be prohibited from accepting new booking accommodations.
“Hotel operations shall be limited to the provision of basic lodging to guests,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nograles also reiterated that online gambling firms will be closed.
“Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) shall not be included among those establishments allowed to operate for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.
Senator Nancy Binay earlier urged health officials to tap hotels’ potential sites to contain the spread of the highly-infectious disease.
“It’s only a matter of time when LGUs (local government units) will be overwhelmed with many Covid-related concerns. Perhaps, they can explore and study the possibility of engaging local hotels and establishments of similar nature and convert them as temporary quarantine centers,” Binay said in a statement.
She said this will help minimize community-level transmission and address the limited bed capacity for persons under investigation who are admitted to local private and government hospitals.
Health Secretary Franciso Duque III earlier said the Lung Center of the Philippines is being eyed as an exclusive hospital for Covid-19 cases. It has 15 available isolation rooms for Covid-19 patients.
However, Duque said this will be difficult at the moment since non-Covid-19 patients are still confined in the hospital.
The Philippines is currently under an enhanced community quarantine, which means that “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the country under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to Covid-19.
There are 187 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 14 fatalities in the country.