As the government looks to boost and help the economy recover from the huge hit it took due to the COVID-19, more and more businesses are being allowed to operate. And among these businesses are restaurants and other food establishments which now allow dine-in at a limited capacity.
Currently, in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), only 30% of the usual capacity of establishments will be allowed. On the other hand, food establishments in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will be allowed to accept up to 50% capacity.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is also considering the increase of allowed dine-in capacity to provide more jobs to employees who lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic. But it will still depend on the restrictions of the quarantines and the increase in number of cases in the country. (Read: Will table barriers be the ‘new normal’ in PH restaurants?)
Despite the limited capacity, dine-ins still pose a health risk to the public. Which is why DTI, together with the Department of Tourism (DOT), has set guidelines for restaurants and food establishments that will be accepting dine-in customers and guidelines for customers as well.
For Food Establishments
- Physical Distancing
Face-to-face dining will be allowed given that dividers are in place on tables and a one-meter distance is observed in between tables. For long tables, a one-meter distance should also be observed between individuals, minimum one seat apart (e.g., a 10-person table may only seat five).
- No self-service
Self-service stations such as water- or gravy-refilling stations are prohibited. Menus should also be placed on the table or counter so customers could scan without holding it. (Read: 3 Secrets To Ensure Food Safety Amid COVID-19 Pandemic)
- Marked queueing and pick-up areas
Markers should be placed on the floor to ensure that physical distancing is observed while in line at the counter. A pick-up counter for both customers and delivery riders must be designated and barriers must be placed on the counter.
For Dine-In Customers
- Fill out necessary forms
Health declaration forms will be available in restaurants and other food establishments and customers must fill these out. Customers must also provide the restaurant with their name and contact number in case contact tracing must be done by the establishment.
- Observe health protocols
Disinfecting foot baths and alcohol/sanitizer dispensers will be available at all establishments and customers must use them before entering the restaurant. The wearing of mask and temperature checks are also strictly enforced, as well as observing physical distancing. (Read: 3 Secrets to Protect Yourself From Viruses In Crowded Places)
- Stay at home if sick
Those with fever or flu-like symptoms will be denied entry to any establishment. It is recommended that those who are feeling under the weather stay at home and rest.
For Restaurant Employees
- Observe proper hygiene
Frequent handwashing must be observed and use hand gloves if you need to touch ready-to-eat food. (Read: Here’s why you should dry your hands with paper towels instead of automatic hand dryers) Front line employees (e.g. cashiers, waiters/servers) must disinfect their hands with 70% alcohol every 20 minutes.
- Avoid unnecessary interactions
As the virus spreads through droplets, it is discouraged to socialize with co-workers about non-work related topics. Physical distancing must also be observed between employees.
- Shifting schedule
Employees should observe a shifting schedule for meal breaks so as not to crowd in one area for a long period of time.
To know more about the guidelines set by DTI and DOT, you may click here.