Hotel operator: Price cap on COVID-19 tests will encourage more staycations
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) – The government's order to impose a price ceiling on COVID-19 test kits and testing services will help families better plan their staycations amid the pandemic, a hotel operator executive said on Monday.
SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. Executive Vice President Peggy Angeles suggested the order must be implemented in December in time for the holiday season.
"The government is looking at putting a cap on the price of these tests and, hopefully, this will encourage more affordable vacation or staycation," Angeles told CNN Philippines' Rico Hizon. "So I just hope that this capping of the price would be just before December so everyone can plan properly for their staycation."
Angeles added this can further increase the demand for staycations, which has been on the rise since hotels under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ were allowed by the national government to operate in full capacity beginning Oct. 21.
"Based on the demands that we are receiving, inquires week on week, it is increasing. So definitely, the demand is there for the weekend staycation," the SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. official said.
She also assured their hotels are strictly following the health and safety protocols set by the government to further avert the spread of COVID-19."I'll take for example, Taal Vista Hotel which is located in an MGCQ area, Angeles said. "So anybody between 18 years old and 65 are free to go there and no testing is required for you to be able to check in."
She added: "On the other hand, there's Pico Sands Hotel in Batangas which is located actually in a GCQ area. As part of the guidelines of the Department of Tourism, for anybody to check in a staycation hotel in GCQ, one must present a negative result test of a same-day antigen testing that was taken. So that becomes a little bit challenging for those that would just want to drive out and be able to check in."
Under Executive Order No. 118, the President ordered the Departments of Health, and Trade and Industry to determine the price range for the COVID-19 tests conducted by hospitals, laboratories, and other health facilities. They were also tasked to issue guidelines and ensure compliance.