The famed Boracay island resort in central Philippines will be opened to domestic tourists from Western Visayas on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, but there will be strict social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a virtual press briefing from Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said senior citizens and those below 21 years old would still be banned in accordance with health and safety regulations.

Beach activities will be allowed provided physical distancing is observed. The “banana boat ride” will not be permitted.

“Hotels and other tourist-oriented establishments vowed to follow health standards,” Puyat said.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Boracay had long prepared for the expected tourist arrivals.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said there were zero cases of Covid-19 in Aklan and local government units had complied with health and safety standards prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He said Covid-19 cases were reported in nearby Iloilo but the situation was manageable.

Boracay was shut down for six months beginning in July 2018 for massive cleanup and rehabilitation. Melo M. Acuña