RESTAURANTS in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) will be allowed to accommodate more dine-in customers starting July 21, 2020.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Tuesday, July 14, that a restaurant’s operating capacity will increase to 50 percent in GCQ areas and up to 75 percent in areas under modified GCQ.

“Kung maaalala po natin, ‘yung dine-in part ng restaurants, dati po ang restaurants takeout and deliveries lang and obviously below break even ulit at kaunti lang po ‘yung mga taong nakakapasok,” he said.

“Inumpisahan po ‘yan noong June 21, ‘yung 30 percent operating capacity ng dine-in, restaurants in GCQ areas; ‘yun rin po ay ma-aadjust na sa July 21, to 50 percent, at ganoon din po sa modified GCQ, from 50 to 75 percent,” he explained.

Lopez said at least three people can now occupy tables with four chairs.

He added that restaurant managements should still comply with the IATF’s health standards such as imposing social distancing in restaurant premises, and putting up clear acrylic dividers between tables.

“Iyong apat na upuan dati, tatlo ang pupuno ng upuan, at ang striktong paiiralin pa rin doon ay ‘yung social distancing at pagkatapos po ay siguraduhing maganda ‘yung ventilation, ‘yung exhaust system, kung saan po puwedeng magkaroon ng mga clear aclryclic dividers,” Lopez said.

“Para po ‘yung mga magkakatabi, ‘di eksaktong magkatapatan, siguradong safe sila, walang transmission, hindi mag spread ang disease doon sa mga kumakain na mga customers,” he said.

Lopez noted the high rate of compliance by business establishments to the health protocols imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) on workplaces.

“Napakaganda ng compliance rate po natin. Actually ang range po namin ay nagmumula 92 percent up to 100 percent dahil po everyday we monitor about 400 establishments,” he said.

He said the agency has also advised local government units (LGUs) to impose curfews at 12 a.m. instead of 10 p.m. to give restaurants more time to operate.

“Ina-advise rin po natin ang mga LGUa na i-allow po nila sana yung extension ng curfew nila na imbes na 10 p.m. ay gawing 12 a.m. para po ‘yung mga restaurants makapag-operate up to 10 to 11 p.m. doon po yung maximum operating hours nila,” the official said.

He said restaurants normally earn 40 to 50 percent of their daily revenues from customers who eat dinner.

“Sana po maidagdag po iyon dahil makakadagdag po sa kikitain nung mga workers ‘yon. Ang dinner po would normally account for 40 to 50 percent of the revenue sa isang araw, so kung mapuputol po ng maaga ay bawas kita rin po sa ating mga manggagawa,” Lopez said.

Meanwhile, barbershops and salons will also be allowed to accommodate more customers starting July 16. This is in line with the IATF Memorandum Circular 2038.

Lopez said that starting July 16, the operating capacity of restaurants and salons in GCQ areas may increase from 30 to 50 percent, and 50 to 75 percent for establishments in modified GCQ areas.

“Ito po ay aligned sa ating hangarin ng gradual reopening at unti-unti pong makabalik ang mga trabahador mas dumami po hopefully ang kanilang trabaho at pati po yung income po dahil isa rin po kasama doon sa circular ay iyong pag-increase ng services,” he said.

“Marami ho kasi nag submit po ng position papers ang maraming associations involving the salons and barbershop industries at pinapakita po nila na ‘yung dating ni rule natin na haircutting ay hindi po sapat,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)