After being cooped up at home for months, the idea of a nice vacation in Boracay must be an enticing one for you and many others.

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However, even as the idea of going on a holiday is still a great comfort, the current times and the new normal can make this idea worrisome. After all, the novel coronavirus is still very much at large; and, as of writing, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have nearly reached 84,000.

Today, everything that many people do operates around the notion of "I might get infected" or "someone else might get infected if you’re not careful". 

However, seeing the need to resume consumer activities to help with the economic recovery, more businesses have been allowed to re-open and welcome customers back into their stores. 

Albeit with restrictions and certain requirements, these small allowances have put a relief on the constraint--not just on business owners, but also on consumers.

So even as certain cities and provinces in the Philippines begun to wean from strict quarantine, the leisures they used to enjoy such as dining out, traveling, and the like cannot be done in quite the same carefree manner as before.  

Activities you used to enjoy doing during your family holidays may not come the way it’s usually packaged, and may even be inaccessible to you after special guidelines implemented by the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF)--as delegated by the national government--are set in place.

Then, again, weren’t the initial lockdown rules inconvenient for you at some point until you got used to them? 

In the case of long-awaited Boracay trips, the same idea applies. Take the holiday, but keep the rules in mind. Once they’ve become automatic to you, all there is to focus on is the current moment.

Apart from general travel guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are the more specific ones mandated by the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force:

1. Observation of minimum health standards 

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Make sure to follow the standards set by health authorities such as frequent handwashing; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, among others. These rules are set in place for everyone’s safety, including yours.

You wouldn’t want to get sick while on vacation, would you? Here are a few more tips, for you to avoid falling under the weather during your travels.

2. "No mask, no entry" to the beach 

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Like they say on the Internet these days: act like you have the virus. Because the main purpose is to protect those around you, including yourself. Yes, masks aren’t something particularly comfortable or appropriate to wear at the beach, but remember that wearing them is a safety precaution.

Think about it: You’re already risking a lot by indulging yourself in this leisure activity. Don’t go ahead risking more by getting unnecessarily careless. For extra measure, pack additional hygiene essentials in your travel kit.

3. Travel is only allowed for Western Visayan residents 

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If you’re a Manila dweller, sorry to break it to you, but you can’t fly out to the lovely island of Boracay just yet. Per the current BIATF guidelines, traveling in and out of the island is only allowed for Western Visayan residents.

Who knows? In the coming weeks, these may ease up. When that time comes, be sure to keep the general guidelines in mind; and, in case you need more ideas for travel destinations, here are a few places sorely missed during the pandemic quarantine period.

Stay safe and stay informed. Make sure to check back here for updates and the latest information on Boracay travel guidelines and restrictions.

4. Minors and seniors are not allowed

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If your holiday plans include family members who are below 21 and above 60 years old, you may have to tell them to sit this one out at home. Boracay’s new normal, in line with national stand health protocols, will require individuals belonging in these age groups to stay at home because they are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus.

When you do decide to go, make sure that the hotel you’re staying at has additional safety precautions, and try to resist the attempts of these vulnerable family members to beg you to allow them to go, too. Have patience, and take the time to remind them that staying at home is the safest option for them right now. Just make sure you make up for it, next time.

5. More digital transactions

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Expect all your transactions to be cashless once you’re at the island. Updated guidelines are also requiring you and business establishments to lessen contact during transactions. This will include mobile wallets like GCash or PayMaya.

Make sure to have your digital payment systems set up or, at the very least, make sure to have your credit card with you. And, if you don’t have one yet, it’s never too late to learn the ropes. Viral transmissions aside, contactless transactions are also better for data security.

6. Physical distancing at the beach

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Another remarkable change to expect in Boracay’s new normal is the change from crowded shores to a less populated one; and, even if you do encounter people, physical distancing will be strictly imposed.

Plus, with only Western Visayan residents allowed to enter and only 6 hotels allowed to reopen, the beach will be less crowded than it usually is during pre-COVID-19 time—peak season or not. 

All these restrictions with visitors and leisure establishments are geared toward managing tourist volume in Boracay. A measure that helps in better implementation of physical distancing protocols.

It could be ironic to think that you need to take a vacation from your prolonged staycation or work-from-home situation, but the fact of the times we’re in is that it’s completely exhausting to have to stay at home and worry for your safety the minute you go outside. 

If you do end up on the shores of Boracay during the pandemic and book your stay at the Alta Vista Boracay, remember these guidelines. They were enforced not just for the sake of public compliance, but also for each individual's safety.