“Safe physical distancing, continuous sanitation, and disinfecting should be observed by owners of the tourism facilities in the province,” Antique Provincial Tourism Office (APTO) head, Juan Carlos Perlas, said in an interview.
To ensure safe physical distancing, they are also instructed to only accommodate 50 percent of their guest capacity, he said.
“We would have to start from the bottom with new rules, but we are optimistic for Antique has always been different from usual places, laid back and without the large crowd,” he said.
He said protocols amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis really affected the tourism industry in the province.
Based on the data provided by the APTO, some 210 tourism facilities temporarily closed since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Antique last March 16.
But Perlas is optimistic the beautiful beaches and other tourist spots of Antique will bounce back as these are not yet that crowded, which could be one of the preferences of visitors.
Meanwhile, Flord Nickson Calawag, who owns the Calawag Mountain Resort in Barangay Tono, Tibiao, in a separate interview, said that they were forced to let go half of their staff because of the lockdown.
“We used to have 50 staff but we had to downsize our workforce due to Covid-19,” Calawag said.
He said their resort reopened only last June 1 when the province entered the modified general community quarantine following the issuance of Executive Order 65 of Governor Rhodora Cadiao.
“With the reopening of the resort, we are practicing safe physical distancing even no physical contact with our guests,” he said.
He said that guests are required to wash their hands upon arrival and those who are coughing or with fever will not be allowed inside the resort.
Calawag added that they adhere to Memorandum Circular Number 2020-002 of the Department of Tourism (DOT) that details health and safety guidelines on the operations of accommodation establishments under the new normal.
The reopening of the Calawag Mountain Resort’s fish spa, rubber tubing, and other adventure activities have started luring tourists.
“We hope our domestic tourists would be more encouraged to visit and promote the local destinations,” he said.
Since Antique is now part of the One Panay Community Quarantine starting June 1, residents of Panay Island would be enticed to visit the Calawag Mountain Resort and other destinations in the province, Calawag added.