As the Philippines surpasses the six-month mark of quarantine, we’re beginning to see that the government is easing more quarantine measures. From reducing the required distance among commuters on public transportation to the reopening of gyms in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), the attempts to start transitioning back to normal are evident.
One of the latest changes came a few days ago when the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) okayed “staycations” for places under GCQ. This means that staying overnight in hotels and other accommodation enterprises will now be allowed for businesses accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and within the guests’ local area.
“For instance, residents of the NCR can staycation within NCR subject to the requirements of the local government unit (LGU),” explained Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The Risks of Staying in Hotels During a Pandemic
This decision was the IATF’s response to DOT’s recommendation to explore different ways to jumpstart tourism activities. So, in terms of uplifting local tourism and securing jobs of those in it, it does have its benefits. But with our number of new COVID cases each day still in the thousands and our mass testing capacity still only at 30,000 per day, how safe is it?
While staying in a hotel room might just feel like a fancier version of staying at home, it’s definitely nowhere as safe. You may just be staying in your room, but you still can’t ever be sure of the infectious status of previous occupants or the housekeeping staff, who interact with many other guests. Even in places that you can trust to do a thorough enough cleaning before a stay, you can never completely eliminate the risk.
Additionally, when staying at a hotel, you won’t just remain in your room the whole time. You will be constantly exposed to shared spaces, such as the lounge, elevators, hallways, restaurants, and other facilities.
Going Anywhere Poses a Risk Anyway, So Why Avoid Hotels?
The times we go out in public nowadays are for necessity, such as doing errands or going to work. So, while there are still risks, we still need to push through while just taking all the precautions. Although, when it comes to non-essential activities, such as attending parties or going to the gym, it’s always better to avoid them regardless of the precautions you’re planning to take.
If you are a frontliner that’s currently boarding at a hotel, staying in one for quarantine purposes, or someone who needed to book a room because of essential travel, then obviously there’s no problem with that. But, if you’re only doing so for leisure, is staying in a hotel room just a short drive away from your home really worth the risk?