Aklan government orders closure of Shangri-La Boracay for 5 days

Image credits: www.shangri-la.com/boracay/boracayresort/

ANOTHER resort on Boracay Island was found to have Covid-19 positive workers, after mass testing was conducted by the Aklan provincial government of tourism workers.

BusinessMirror sources disclosed that 15 workers at the posh Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa had been tested in the course of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) free testing program through the Aklan provincial health office, “but instead of quarantining while waiting for the test results, they were put back to work, thus endangering their fellow workers and guests.”

Gov. Florencio Miraflores has ordered the closure of the resort for five days, although a joint resolution issued by the Department of Trade and Industry-Department of Labor and Employment requires only a lockdown and closure for 48 hours for disinfection. Miraflores did not return messages from this paper, but sources said the LGU is trying to find out how the workers got infected.

Last December, Discovery Shores Boracay also was found to have one Covid-positive worker, prompting Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat to lose her cool at Miraflores for failing to use DOT’s funds to test the island’s hospitality workers before the holiday season. (See, “DOT hits Aklan failure to test Boracay workers,” in the BusinessMirror, Dec. 23, 2020.)

Initially, Shang Boracay management had appealed the closure order, stressing they had  already isolated the affected workers, undergoing contact tracing, and implementing disinfection protocols. Also, in a letter to Miraflores on January 22,  Leopold Tirol, the resort’s Director of Government Relations, and Dave Junker, general manager, added, “We feel another hotel closure would do irreparable damage to the resort, our brand, and to Boracay,” following the recent news of Makati Shangri-La Manila’s closure on February 1 due to the poor business environment. (See, “Another Covid victim: Makati Shang closes doors in February,” Jan. 20, 2021.)

But sources said, the resort is  “now cooperating” and were supposed to have transferred guests to other hotels, as per LGU advice, while others “cut their trip short.” Guests who were expected to arrive at the resort on Saturday decided to defer and rebook their stays, the same sources added. As of January 22, there were 77 guests staying in 35 rooms and villas at the resort.

‘No new guests from Jan. 22-28’

In response to this paper’s queries, Shangri-La Boracay said in a news statement, “We will not be accepting any new check-ins from 22 January 2021 till 28 January 2021 (inclusive). All affected guests will be contacted personally, and we will assist them with alternative arrangements.”

The resort added, “During this time, we will conduct further deep cleaning and disinfection of the resort. This is on top of the already rigorous hygiene and sanitation protocols being implemented on property.”

While the resort did not confirm how many workers exactly had been found positive with the novel coronavirus, it said, “Our affected colleagues are now self-isolating in accordance with guidelines from the authorities and we are supporting them in any way we can during this period. We can confirm these colleagues were asymptomatic and did not exhibit any outward symptoms or reported feeling unwell on the days they were on duty. Comprehensive contact tracing has been conducted and as a precautionary measure, close contacts of the affected colleagues have also been asked to self-isolate until further notice.”

It assured the public that the resort has “stepped up its clearing and sanitation regimes in view of the Covid-19 situation globally.”

The resort also did not cite any action being taken regarding current guests at the resort. Sources said, however, of the 77 guests, 15 are staying until Sunday, January 23 instead of transferring to other resorts.

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