Health officials have approved the protocols for dine-in operations of restaurants after observing demonstrations by McDonald’s, Shakey’s and Tim Ho Wan restaurants in SM North EDSA in Quezon City.
“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,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who accompanied members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on a visit to the restaurants.
“A lot of them exerted effort to demonstrate that the transmission can be minimized, if not totally prevented, while still having dine-in operations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry said the moratorium on rent payments and evictions extends to the general community quarantine period that took hold in Metro Manila this week.
Landlords are not allowed to evict residential and commercial tenants, and should give tenants a 30-day grace period to settle their dues once the community quarantine is lifted, the DTI said in its supplemental guidelines on rents.
The DTI first laid down these guidelines in April, two weeks after the government imposed an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and other parts of the country.
These measures still apply during the GCQ, in accordance with the May 22 resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the DTI said.
Under the GCQ, restaurants and fast food establishments can 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 Metro Manila transitions to a modified GCQ.
Also, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade urged companies to refrain from asking all their workers to physically report for work, and provide shuttle services to those who need it.
The appeal came after commuters waited long hours for rides and crammed into free shuttle services on the first day that quarantine restrictions were relaxed.
While the transportation department is mandated to provide means of public transport, Tugade said it is also their responsibility to ensure the safety of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More people in churches eyed
The IATF may allow a larger crowd to attend religious gathering if the Department of Health data would show that there is substantial drop in the number of coronavirus cases.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a member of IATF, said attendance during religious gathering would depend on the data that the DOH would present before the IATF meeting on June 10.
“DOH will submit new data analytics on June 10, which will be the basis for possible reclassification of community quarantine regimes by June 15,” Guevarra said in text message to reporters.
Guevarra made the statement a day after a meeting Monday between religious groups and representatives of local government units (LGUs). Under prevailing rules, only 10 persons are allowed to gather for religious worship under a GCQ.
Try to commute, transport officials dared
Senator Nancy Binay on Tuesday challenged executive officials of the Transportation department to commute and experience the plight they brought to returning workers under the "more relaxed" General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status.
Binay said Monday's shift to GCQ without a clear plan for the commuting public only added to the chaos, misery and confusion.
"What's the plan of DOTr sa commuters? Three months under ECQ and still they have no clear plan in place. What happened to foresight? Why don’t DOTr officials try to commute from their residences to their office? They won't be able to plan well if they don't feel and understand the people's daily struggles," she said.
Localized lockdowns to handle spikes
The government will implement localized lockdownsin barangays or areas that experience a spike in COVID-19 cases, the chief implementor of the National Action Plan against COVID-19, Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año added that localized lockdown can be usedon several levels, including barangays, subdivisions, or individual buildings. He added that areas with two or more COVID-19 cases would be locked down.
Let senior citizens ride trains – CHR
The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday urged the Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to lift the ban on senior citizens from taking a train ride.
The prohibition is doing "more harm than good," and such is a violation of the elderly's human rights, Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said.
The ban is also a misinterpretation of the IATF rules that do not restrict older persons from going outside their homes if it is for essential services and goods or for work in the permitted industries.
"Simplistic interpretations of denial of essential services without due regard to the situations people face is discriminatory," the commission said in a statement.
1st day in GCQ 'epic fail' – KMU
The militant labor organization Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said there was an epic fail on the first day of the implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.
READ: GCQ opener: Transport lack
The KMU said there was traffic, no social distancing, and many stranded workers who were late for work.
“Due to the absence of public transportation such as jeepney and bus, many lives of workers and Filipino families were put in danger,” the KMU said.
Some flights may resume
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) on Tuesday said local airlines are now allowed to resume domestic operations in key markets and in limited capacity.
READ: Airlines set to resume flights in June
“As we shift to less stringent quarantine strategies on a targeted basis, local airlines will be allowed to restart domestic operations strictly in accordance with the protocols and guidelines set by the government,” Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of CAB said.
As per instructions of the Transport Department, Arcilla said the restart of domestic services will be gradual and in phases and will focus on developing and exploiting the utility of regional airports as alternative hubs to promote domestic mobility.
“Initially, operations will resume for non-leisure travel in key markets and in limited capacity, but the market is expected to expand in time as the government continues to ease up travel restrictions and as consumer confidence grows,” Arcilla said.
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