The Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the health protocols for dine-in operations of restaurants.
It approved the protocols after visiting and watching the demonstrations by McDonald’s, Shakey’s and Tim Ho Wan restaurants at SM North EDSA. The Department of Trade and Industry accompanied the IATF in the compliance check of the restaurants.
“We were very satisfied with the dine-in demonstrations of the three restaurants since they showed that the safety protocols are being implemented and proved that they are indeed doable. A lot of them exerted effort to demonstrate that the transmission can be minimized, if not totally prevented, while still having dine-in operations,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Based on the guidelines on minimum health protocols, restaurants should observe the following equipment and systems: properly sanitized tables and chairs (after each customer’s use); distancing of tables and chairs to at least 1 meter apart on all sides; face-to-face seating allowed only with proper dividers; visible floor markings for guidance of clients in queueing, preferably color-coded; and proper ventilation in the establishment.
The protocols also include visibility and accessibility of sanitizing equipment and tools; provision of food menus per table; contactless order-taking; covering pieces of furniture made of porous materials with plastic for ease of sanitation; clean trash bins for used papers and used tissue; clean washrooms and toilets with sufficient soap, water, tissue, and toilet paper; and disinfection of high-risk areas, such as order and bar counters every 30 minutes.
The guidelines also called for the set-up of service stations: designated area for take-away/pick-up; separate handwashing sink for kitchen staff and dine-in customers; contactless drive-thru counters; and, the closure of play areas while buffet and self-service areas for food bars, condiments and utensils were not allowed.
Under the general community quarantine, restaurants and fastfood establishments could only cater to take-out and delivery services.
Dine-in operations will be allowed at a 50-percent maximum capacity under the modified GCQ where majority of provinces are now classified.
Lopez expressed confidence that with all the necessary safety protocols, dine-in operations would be allowed in the next two to three weeks as NCR transitions to MGCQ.
The government said that if health indicators improved, Metro Manila and other areas could possibly graduate into MGCQ and allow the operations of many restaurants and fastfood establishments.