Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in a Viber message said the agency may propose allowing restaurants to resume their dine-in service.
PPD/Toto Lozano, File
DTI mulls resumption of dine-in
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is studying the possibility of allowing dine-in for restaurants in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in a Viber message said the agency may propose allowing restaurants to resume their dine-in service.

He said he would make the recommendation “when we get to check and approve the special health protocol standards for dine-in restaurants.”

He added that should the agency proceed to make its recommendation to allow dine-in, it would be for restaurants in GCQ areas.

The government put in place quarantine restrictions to avoid transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

These restrictions have limited the operations of restaurants.

Restaurants and other establishments involved in food preparation are only allowed to operate for take-out and delivery under the enhanced community quarantine and GCQ.

With limited operations, restaurant owners have called on government to allow dine-in service.

Restaurant owners warned over half of 16,000 restaurants in the country may fold as they struggle to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Andrew Masigan, chief executive officer of Advent Manila Hospitality Group Inc. who has a chain of 31 fine and casual dining restaurants, has said many players in the food industry have already reduced their operations and workforce amid the ongoing health crisis.

He said the government should consider lifting the ban on dine-in service as such could be provided as long as proper health measures are in place.

At the Senate, Sen. Cynthia Villar is pushing for the partial opening of dine-in restaurants as about 50 percent of small and micro enterprises are in the food business.

Villar said dining in even with strict health protocols will prevent restaurant owners from declaring bankruptcy.

“I just want to inform you that restaurant businesses have huge problems,” she told government officials present during a public hearing by the Senate committee of the whole.

Villar said while many food businesses are thriving through delivery, there are restaurants better for dine in. Cecille Suerte Felipe

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