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Philippines Allows MICE at 50% Capacity Under MGCQ

The Department of Tourism, Philippines, has allowed meetings and conventions to take place under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) at 50 per cent capacity. The move is set to help an industry and its people that have already been hit hard.

According to the release issued by the Department, Bernadette Romulo–Puyat, Secretary - Tourism recently signed the Administrative Order, also known as ‘Guidelines on MICE Operations under the MGCQ’. Based on the guidelines, MICE events in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ, and general community quarantine (GCQ) are strictly prohibited. Exemptions are those conducted through online platforms facilitated without physical interaction.

The guidelines also stress that the rules on inter-zonal and intra-zonal movement under the Inter–Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF–EID) shall be observed. Persons below 21, and over 60 years old, are prohibited from participating in any MICE events, even under MGCQ, in accordance with the IATF rules.

Meanwhile, Puyat also signed a Memorandum Circular or the health and safety guidelines governing the operations of MICE organizers and venues or facilities under the new normal. “MICE tourism plays a critical role in our recovery with its innate characteristic to boost local economy, generate employment and directly benefit tourism entrepreneurs. With these guidelines in place, our stakeholders will be assured that their health and well–being is protected, as we maintain our position as an established MICE destination," she said.

MICE organizers are required to formulate an emergency preparedness plan to prevent the spread of infection at the MICE event. At the same time, the venue operator is required to designate an isolation room or area where persons who feel unwell while at the MICE event may be brought to before referral to medical personnel, based on the prescribed protocols of the Department of Health (DOH).

Guidelines also require seating arrangements for different venue setups such as the one-metre distance between seats for conference and breakout rooms, and the two-person-maximum for each six-foot table. Exhibit layout shall have wider aisles than usual, preferably more than three metres. No adjacent booths shall be directly facing each other.

Buffet setup and self-service will be prohibited. Pre-packed individual meals and drinks shall be the standard means of food packaging throughout the event. “Similarly, we would like to reiterate that they also need to comply with the applicable issuances of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other sector-related agencies for compliance with the minimum public health standards,” Puyat emphasised.

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