Boracay business groups lobby for island’s independent quarantine status

PHOTO CAPTION: In Boracay, business leaders believe a customized approach to the health crisis separate from that of the mainland will give the island leverage to survive the pandemic./iNEWS

BORACAY–The COVID pandemic has led to the collapse of tourism industries everywhere and this island north of Aklan is no exception.

Boracay, which welcomed 35,108 tourists from July 1 to 31, has to cut accommodating travelers short due to entry restrictions.

The province of Aklan and Boracay Island have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from August 1 to 31, and since Day One, the island has been quiet as leisure travel is no longer allowed.

That leaves the visitors, many of whom booked months ago, with no choice but to cancel their trips. Hotels, restaurants, non-essential shops, and hospitality businesses in Boracay also scaled back largely due to the pandemic.

Hoping it would jumpstart the ailing tourism, Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Boracay decided to ask Aklan governor Florencio Miraflores to allow the local government of Malay, Aklan, to issue an executive order for a separate community quarantine status for Boracay Island.

The appeal was made by PCCI Boracay president Wesley van der Voort and BFI president Edwin Raymundo to help the hardest-hit businesses as the coronavirus continues to disrupt the island’s tourism industry.

Devastated by pandemic-induced lockdowns, many Boracay business establishments have been forced to temporarily shut down their operations over the past year, putting in jeopardy hundreds of jobs.

“The situation in Boracay Island is different from the situation in the province at this time. As such, the restrictions and guidelines that are meant to keep us safe can be customized specifically for Boracay,” the business groups stressed in their joint resolution dated August 19.

Despite the lockdown, the businessmen have put quite a lot of confidence on Malay town officials that “they will continue to safeguard the people of Boracay and achieve the government’s public health and safety goals, without sacrificing the island and the economy of the province”.

“Controlling the movements of people can efficiently be managed, and health and safety protocols and policies can be less restrictive in order to allow businesses to operate, and allow the local economy to run,” they added. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)

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