LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government closed its doors for tourists from outside Baguio and Benguet following the ongoing surge in the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases which is being triggered by the more infectious and more transmissible Omicron variant.
However, Mayor Romeo K. Salda disclosed that the town’s tourist spots will still be open to local residents to ensure that the same will contribute in the ongoing efforts of the local government to gradually and safely revive the local economy, especially the tourism sector which is one of the heavily impacted by the ongoing health crisis.
He added that the municipal government is trying its best to balance health and economy to prevent either of the sectors from being compromised by the surge in cases every time that there is a new variant of the virus.
While most of the affected tourism-related businesses are the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the local chief executive pointed out that government agencies and the local government need to implement strategies that will address the pressing issues and concerns caused by the ongoing pandemic which had been existing over the past 22 months.
Earlier, the local government started allowing the entry of tourists from the different regions in the country after the number of COVID-19 cases in the municipality started to significantly drop late last year that allowed the tourism sector to slightly gain ground during the Yuletide season.
According to him, the municipal inter-agency task force is closely monitoring the latest developments related to the ongoing surge in cases for the issuance of advisories on how to prevent contracting the deadly virus.
Mayor Salda advised that people should not lower their guards as they should ensure their continuous compliance to the implementation of the minimum public health standards such as the mandatory wearing of face masks at all times, the observance of physical distancing and the usual practice of personal hygiene and regular disinfection.
He appealed to the tourism sector to understand the decision of the municipal inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases as the local government is prioritizing the welfare of the general public, thus, their utmost cooperation is required to hurdle the present challenges posed by the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.
The mayor underscored that with the cooperation of everyone, the present difficult situation can be placed under control and the tourism sector will rebound from the pressing challenges posed by the surge in cases.
Of the 13 towns, La Trinidad has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Benguet.