RESTAURANTS and other dine-in food establishments in areas under general community quarantine are now allowed to operate, based on the recent resolution of the Interagency Task Force (IATF).
In the IATF Resolution 45 signed on June 10, the gradual reopening of restaurants or food establishments for dine-in in areas under GCQ areas started on June 15, Monday. However, it is only allowed to cater to 30 percent of its dining capacity.
The resolution noted that restaurants allowing dine-in customers should implement social distancing measures.
It added that these establishments must also be compliant with the health protocols set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Under the DTI's guidelines on the Minimum Health Protocols for Dine-in Restaurants and Fast-Food Establishments, the management should enforce a no mask, no entry policy, identify the maximum number of allowable persons, inform the customers on the availability of alternative methods of payment if applicable, among others.
This information must also be placed in a prominent or conspicuous area.
For menus and ordering done at the counter of the food establishment, the management must implement a priority number scheme.
"Counter calls the assigned number, immediately takes the customer's order/s, receives the payment, sanitizes hands and advises the customer to sanitize hands and to wait for order at their assigned table," it said.
"For single-use table menus, upon entry, customers shall be escorted to the assigned table with the corresponding number, who will select the order by checking choices in the menu placed on the table. For non-single use menus, upon entry, shall be escorted to the assigned table with the corresponding number, who will select orders from the menu placed on the table," the guidelines added.
The restaurants are also advised to put up a floor mat or foot bath with disinfectant at the entrances, check their customer's temperature with a calibrated thermal scanner, and other sanitation measures.
Fat Cow and Asian Cow owner Chef Patrick Co said while they cannot do anything about the decisions of the IATF, he only hoped that the sales they get from the 30 percent capacity of the restaurants will cover their operating expenses.
"Hopefully, with the 30 percent capacity, we can sustain our operation costs namely rent, electricity, and manpower," he said.
He said he will continue allowing take-outs and delivery orders to complement the dine-in customers.
He also added that he considered putting footbaths and using thermal scanners as mandated by the DTI as investments.
"It is a manageable expense. It is better than getting sick. It is investment for our staff and most importantly, our customers," he said.