The Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte shuts its doors to tourists coming from Metro Manila and its four nearby provinces which have been placed on stricter quarantine for two weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Gov. Francisco Matugas expressed his worries that the COVID-19 virus could spread in the province brought by the influx of leisure travelers and could lead to a local spike in cases and will eventually call forth another lockdown, which he says "would surely hurt our local economy again.”
With the closure order, the only ones who are allowed to enter Surigao del Norte are the Surigao del Norte residents and authorized government employees.
However, those coming from Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna, which are under a quarantine “bubble" will be allowed to enter the Province if they carry the required health and travel documents.
Matugas also asked airline companies to require their passengers bound for the airports in Surigao City or Siargao to observe this policy.
From March 29 to April 4, which is during the Holy Week, tourists are expected to crowd the Siargao Island.
To those planning to go to Siargao Island, as part of health measures even those travelers from Surigao del Norte are required to present a negative RT-PCR result of, at least, an antigen test for COVID-19.
However, City Tourism Officer Roselyn Armida Merlin said the local government of Surigao City has ordered all local beaches closed from March 27 to April 4.
She said that Surigao City has become an alternative destination to Siargao Island since leisure travelers have to deal with accommodation capacity there. Thus, Mayor Ernesto Matugas issued the order to reduce the surge of tourists during Holy Week.
“We are really fearful about the possibility of virus transmission,” Merlin said.
She also said resorts would be allowed to operate but their swimming pools and beaches would be off-limits to visitors.