Government set to allow higher dine-in capacity
A restaurant in Quezon City practices social distancing for its patrons.
Michael Varcas
Government set to allow higher dine-in capacity
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Dine-in restaurants will be allowed to operate at higher capacity by July 21, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters yesterday that the agency is set to release this week the memorandum circular to increase the operational capacity of dine-in establishments.

He said dine-in restaurants in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas would be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity from the current 30 percent, while those in modified GCQ areas could operate at 75 percent from the current 50 percent.

At 30 percent operating capacity, he said earlier that many restaurants cannot break even.

The government is allowing dine-in restaurants to operate at higher capacity following high compliance rate of establishments to health protocols.

Earlier, the government said barbershops and salons would already be able to operate at higher capacity of 50 percent from 30 percent in GCQ areas, and at 75 percent from 50 percent in MGCQ areas on July 16.

As the Department of Health has said it agrees with the World Health Organization that it is possible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be transmitted through air in closed settings, Lopez said it is important to continue to comply with health protocols.

“We should be stricter in implementing the health protocols and customers should be extra careful, which means still wearing masks if not eating for the moment, safe social distancing and frequent sanitation of hands,” he said, adding that air-conditioned restaurants should have a better exhaust system.

He also said dine-in restaurants are recommended to use 18-inch clear view acrylic dividers and have an air purifier.

“We just have to manage and live with the virus. It will be here to stay. We need to balance health and economy and time to restart the economy, provide more livelihood,” Lopez added.

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