On feast of St. John the Baptist, Boracay waters off limits to locals

EXCLUSIVE FOR A DAY Solely vacationers who’ve complied with well being protocols can be allowed to swim within the seashores of Boracay Island on Thursday because the native authorities of Malay, Aklan, tries to forestall residents from crowding the city’s coastlines and rivers to have fun the feast of St. John the Baptist. —JACK JARILLA

The municipal authorities of Malay in Aklan province has banned mass gatherings and swimming in rivers and seashores for all residents through the feast of St. John the Baptist on Thursday as a part of well being restrictions.

The ban, nonetheless, doesn’t cowl vacationers on Boracay Island which has welcomed greater than 10,000 guests since flights from Metro Manila resumed on June 3.

In an advisory, the native authorities of Malay mentioned the measure was geared toward stopping the unfold of the brand new coronavirus illness (COVID-19) because the annual non secular feast, celebrated each June 24, is related to gatherings in rivers and seashores.

The advisory covers the city’s 17 villages, together with three on Boracay Island.

In a phone interview on Tuesday night time, performing Mayor Frolibar Bautista mentioned the ban wouldn’t apply to vacationers in Boracay as a result of “they’ve already been subjected to a (reverse transcription-polymerase chain response, or RT-PCR, take a look at) earlier than coming to the island.”

Tourism-dependent

“Throughout this time of pandemic, permitting the celebration of San Juan is taken into account harmful as COVID-19 instances within the municipality are repeatedly rising. We’re asking to your understanding as we can’t threat the additional improve of COVID-19 instances,” based on the advisory.

The island’s residents and companies are closely depending on tourism.

However the well being disaster prompted the imposition of journey and group quarantine restrictions that ultimately led to the closure, some completely, of companies on the island. Many staff had additionally been laid off.

The island reopened to vacationers from Western Visayas area on June 16 and from different areas in October final yr.

However in March this yr, vacationer arrivals plummeted once more after heightened journey restrictions have been imposed in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces on account of a surge in COVID-19 instances.

Flights from Metro Manila to Barangay Caticlan in Malay resumed on June 3, leading to a pointy improve in arrivals.

The Malay tourism workplace recorded 16,047 vacationers arriving in Boracay from June 1 to June 20. Almost 64 p.c, or 10,220 guests, have been from Metro Manila.

The three-week complete was greater than the variety of guests through the vacation season in December with 15,307 and in January with 11,898.

It should seemingly surpass the 16,487 vacationers recorded in February, the very best because the island started accepting vacationers through the pandemic.

—NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.


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