Lapu-Lapu City lifts travel restriction to help local tourism industry

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The city government of Lapu-Lapu, which is home to Cebu’s airport and posh resorts, has removed all travel restrictions to enter the island, a landmark move to further support tourism recovery in the city.

Mayor Junard Chan made the announcement Friday night while stressing that public health and safety standards would continue to be strictly enforced, with a fine or community service for violators.

City Tourism, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (TCHAC) Chairperson Cindi King-Chan welcomed the mayor’s move, saying it’s a big advantage to the city’s tourism players.

In a statement, lawyer Misaellee Tejano, secretary of the mayor, said the city no longer requires a letter of acceptance, travel endorsements, travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force Shield, medical certificate, and swab test from domestic travelers.

She said this would benefit domestic tourists, authorized persons outside residence (APOR), and returning residents.

The city, however, has yet to seek clarification with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on whether or not the removal of the RT-PCR test as a travel requirement applies to returning overseas Filipinos and foreign nationals traveling to the Philippines.

Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, director of the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas, said Cebu, being one of the first cities outside Metro Manila to receive Covid-19 vaccines, gives the impression it would be the first to “be safe against the virus.”

“It may not be a paid advertisement, but it redounds to the benefit of the tourism industry in Cebu,” said Tamano during his recent meeting with tourism stakeholders in Lapu-Lapu City on Thursday.

While the city relaxes its travel restrictions, it tightens its monitoring of erring residents.

Those who violate the minimum health standards such as wearing of face mask and face shield, observing social distancing, and adhering to 50-percent capacity limitations will be issued citation tickets if they opt to pay the fine of P1,000 or do community service.

The local government has created Anti-Covid Barangay Enforcement Unit (BEU) to carry out the enforcement, in cooperation with the local police here.

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