IT TAKES about four and a half hours on the road to reach Bantayan from Cebu City. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BANTAYANISLAND.COM
Cebu province has reopened its tourist sites but Cebu City residents are barred from visiting them.
City Mayor Edgardo Labella said travels intended for leisure are not necessary.
“We are still under quarantine and staying at home is mandatory. When we say quarantine, it means we can only go out for necessary activities. I don’t think tourist spots are a necessity,” he said.
Labella was responding to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s advice that city residents are not welcomed in tourism sites for now.
“Not yet, as of now, but I also need to confer with the mayors. I know that most of them are really very careful because it was Cebu City that has the most infections,” she said.
The capitol does not want a spike of coronavirus cases in the province either, like what happened in June when cases rose that resulted in Cebu City being declared a Visayan hotspot.
As of 15 September, Cebu City has 29 active COVID-19 cases and Cebu Province 52.
Central Visayas, which includes Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, has 1,485 total active cases.
The province reopened tourism sites in August to resuscitate the economy, kicking off with Oslob town in the south and its whale shark-watching activities.
The province launched online portal One Cebu Tourism, where those who want to visit the sites can register and pay.
The portal contains activities, such as trekking, canyoneering, sardine run, turtle watching, scuba diving and snorkeling.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic. We cannot make promises that we will not cause another spread of the virus. We can only do our best to ensure that the spread of the virus is minimized,” Labella said.