MAY 29, 2020 — Fine dining and buffet restaurants may soon be back but with limited capacity as the Philippine gradually re-opens the food industry hurt by a prolonged lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a top trade official said on Friday.
Ramon Lopez said his office has recommended to resume dine-in operations provided the establishments meet the minimum health standards set by the government after owners said take-outs and deliveries are not enough to keep their businesses afloat.
“Kapag tayo ay nakumbinsi na safe po kumain at mai-implement ‘yung minimum safety protocols, we will allow [them to reopen],” said Lopez.
He expected many restaurants will reopen by June 1 when the capital region is placed under a more relaxed general community quarantine for 15 days.
Lopez said his office has recommended restaurants to allow dine-in customers to up to 50 percent capacity but to observe strictly social distancing.
He said about 70 percent of revenues come from customers who dine in.
Restaurants must use dividers such as fiber glass or clean plastic as dividers and provide markers in the dining area as visual cues for social distancing, he said.
Lopez said restaurants must also enforce a “no mask, no entry” policy as well as observe a 10-minute interval for sanitation in between customers dining in.
The trade office will not issue accreditation for restaurants to operate as the process may result in bureaucratic layers and instead it will conduct random inspections.
Establishments found non-compliant with government guidelines will be temporarily closed and allowed time to correct the insufficiency. (Nicole Dacanay / MM)
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