September 30, 2023

The Department of Tourism has issued the New Normal Health and Safety Guidelines for Tourist Land Transport Services covering transport operators/owners, passengers, vehicles, and drivers.

Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed Memorandum Circular 2020-003 on June 5, in accordance with the Omnibus Guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the country.

“These important guidelines highlight our ‘safety-first’ policy to ensure the well-being and security of our visitors,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Section 8 of the guidelines emphasizes on the No mask, No boarding policy, stating that “Passengers not wearing masks shall not be allowed to board the vehicle.”

Passengers must comply with the physical distancing policy, or the strict maintenance of a distance of at least one-meter radius between persons, and Passenger Limit Guidelines set by the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to avoid possible contact.

In a car or sedan, no passenger may sit beside the driver, only two passengers at the back row with one seat apart, and there can be no more than three passengers, including the driver.

Only two passengers per row are allowed in a van, except for the driver’s row, where only one passenger may occupy the passenger’s seat. There should be a waterproof barrier between the driver and the passenger.

Meanwhile, buses and coasters can accommodate only 50 percent of the vehicle’s total capacity. A waterproof transparent barrier is also required, and passengers must be one seat apart. No standing passengers shall be allowed.

All tourist vehicles must have a thermometer gun, basic first-aid kits, and sanitation kits with 70 percent solution alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer and tissue paper or disposable wet wipes, for the free use of passengers.

The guidelines also require the deep cleaning and proper disinfection and sanitation of vehicles before and after every use, especially the frequently touched surfaces.

The transport service should be well ventilated.

Under the guidelines, transport operators and owners must monitor their employees’ body temperature every time they report to work. They are required to install a safety bulletin board to maintain a display of safety and health-related information in the working area and ensure cleanliness within its office premises, including the garage. They are encouraged to provide health benefit options for all employees. Health check-up for drivers and staff is now mandatory. – Press release