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Face mask still a must while enjoying Boracay beaches — mayor

Wearing a face mask is still a must for those who want to enjoy the beaches of tourist destination Boracay, according to Malay, Aklan acting mayor Frolibar Bautista on Thursday.

"Sa labas, sa beach area, mayroon dapat. You have to wear face mask. Kung maligo, puwede naman (alisin) 'yun but as long as you're in [a] public area, dapat may face mask talaga," Bautista said in a television interview on ANC.

The nine designated swimming areas in Boracay will be manned by security personnel of the locality to ensure that social distancing is strictly observed among tourists.

"Mayroon tayong tao diyan, mayroong lifeguard, mayroon tayong beach guard... Lahat ng naliligo sa area na 'yan, nililista saka tinitingnan... mayroon tayong thermal scanner saka 'yung cellphone number just for contact tracing purposes," Bautista said.

Drinking alcoholic beverages is still prohibited in public areas, Bautista said.

"Bawal 'yan, pagkain saka inuman sa 30 meters from the shoreline. Dapat talaga sa establishment, bawal doon sa open areas," Bautista said.

The mayor also said massages and spas in Boracay are still prohibited to operate as these services would have close contact with customers, which is dangerous amid the COVID-19 pandemic

"Wala muna, hanggang di tayo nakakita ng guidelines... I mean 'yung close contact kasi napakadelikado," Bautista said.

Asked about water activities such as diving and island hopping, Bautista said they are allowed as long as minimum health standards would be observed.

"'Yung water activities natin, ang scuba diving, puwede namang may physical distancing as long na 'yung disinfection requirements ma-comply din nila," he said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ensured the public that Boracay Island is "well-prepared" to be open to domestic tourists by October 1.

Bautista said a total of 199 hotels or 4,416 rooms have been allowed to operate in the re-opening of the tourist spot.

"Mayroon tayong 199 as of yesterday na mayroon ng certificate of authority to operate and then 50% ang capacity niyan. Tingnan lang natin, gradual pa naman kasi ang opening kung gaano ba karami ang papasok sa Boracay hotels," he said.

"Lahat ng accommodation establishments ay nainspect na ng Department of Tourism, 'yung inspection team nila... Lahat ng mayroong CAO, nag-comply 'yan," he added. — RSJ, GMA News