Hotels with food services need DOT certification

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Accommodation establishments offering food preparation and take-out or delivery services are required to secure a certification from the Department of Tourism (DOT) to ensure health and safety protocols are in place.

In a letter to Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III, DOT Assistant Secretary Maria Rica Bueno said the department has issued an advisory on food preparation services and operation of ancillary establishments, which calls for the reporting of requirements by establishments to the DOT.

“This is to ensure that safety measures and health protocols on food and beverage preparations are strictly observed at all times,” Bueno said.

Under the earlier issued DOT Administrative Order (AO) 2020-001-B or the Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on operations of accommodation establishments during the enhanced community quarantine, ancillary establishments within accommodation establishment premises such as restaurants, cafes, bars, etc. will not be allowed.

“However, as the accommodation sector slowly recovers from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic and adapts to the new normal for the tourism industry, some accommodation establishments have started to offer their specialty dishes through take-out services and various online food delivery platforms,” Bueno said.

Among the information that needs to be submitted to the DOT include the commencement date of take-out and delivery services; procedure for acceptance of orders, food preparations and take-out delivery services; safety protocols in the kitchen and in interaction with customers; details of manpower dedication to food preparation operations; and the number and designation of checked-in guests (whether foreign, long-staying guests, OFWs under quarantine or workers in essential establishments).

Bueno said that a certification shall be issued to accommodation establishments compliant with the requirements.

“The DOT, therefore, requests the assistance of the TCP in the dissemination of the attached advisory to all its members, for information and guidance,” Bueno  said.

Under the quarantine, only select hotels are allowed to operate such as those used as quarantine facilities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos as well as accommodation for essential industries such as healthcare facilities, banks, BPOs, and other frontline service sectors.

In addition, accommodation establishments those with longstaying guests, stranded tourists as well as transiting foreign nationals are also allowed to operate.

The tourism industry, which includes the accommodations sector, is among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DOT estimates that tourism revenues in the first three months of 2020 have dropped about 36 percent to $85 billion from $134 billion in the same period last year.

In addition, foreign arrivals have dropped 35.6 percent in the same period to 1.4 million arrivals from 2.2 million in the first three months of 2019.

The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Philippines earlier soft-launched an online sari-sari store, as part of its efforts to help the member hotels stay afloat amid the COVID-pandemic.

In a post on its Facebook page, HSMA Philippines said it has opened an online sari-sari store dubbed as the HSMA e-store, where members can post items for sale.

“HSMA members who have their own business or wish to promote items can post items for sale,”the HSMA said.

“This is our way of helping our colleagues to stay afloat in this crisis,”it added.


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