After almost seven months of community quarantine, Ilocos Norte is reopening its borders for Luzon tourists beginning today, Oct. 15. The province was one of the first to reopen domestic tourism in Region I, in an effort to help the country’s tourism sector recover.
According to the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, tourist destinations such as the Paoay Lake, Laoag City’s Sand Dunes and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation will resume operations.
The provincial government has also established the Ilocano Migrants Monument Visitor Center, which are one-stop pasalubong centers located in Laoag City and the Ilocos Norte Triage.
To ensure social distancing measures are followed, the province will only be allowing 50 pre-arranged visitors per day. People with comorbidities and chronic health conditions will not be allowed to travel.
Tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas with high infection rates should secure RT-PCR test results released 72 hours before arrival and go through a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) at the provincial border. They also have the option to secure an RDT within 30 hours of arrival and have a RT-PCR test conducted upon arrival.
After securing negative COVID-19 test results, tourists will be required to register to SafePass—an application that generates a QR code that serves as a Health Declaration and Travel Pass Authority. Tourists will record their confirmed accommodations and itineraries, travel agents, medical certificates and test results here.
Leisure tourists will be allowed to proceed with their itinerary once they’ve secured a validated Health Declaration and signed Affidavit of Understanding. For people who plan to stay longer than three days, they have to go through RDT testing on the fourth, ninth and 14th day in the province.
Tourists who show COVID-19 symptoms or stray from their itineraries and cannot be reached for two hours will need to undergo an RT-PCR re-test.
For residents expressing concerns about reviving the hospitality sector, Ilocos Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc assured the local government is prioritizing safety and that this initiative will benefit tourism-dependent families.
Header photo courtesy of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office
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Writer: ANGELA PATRICIA SUACILLO