The dizzying array of quarantine acronyms may be opaque to many, but restaurateurs inside GCQ, or general community quarantine, are painfully aware that dine-in operations are still not allowed inside their locales.
Today, however, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s Mon Lopez may have offered a glimmer of hope for the restaurant industry.
To recap: dine-in is already allowed in areas under modified GCQ, or MGCQ, albeit at 50% capacity. But in areas still under GCQ — that is, Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Zamboanga City, Davao City and several cities and provinces in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Central Visayas — only take-out is permitted.
However, in an interview today, June 11, with CNN Philippines, the DTI secretary announced the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the recommendation that dine-in services in restaurants in GCQ zones may reopen starting Monday, June 15.
“This is essentially in the interest of workers so they can get back to work and get back to their jobs,” explained the trade secretary.
Lopez added: “We shall be doing this on a gradual basis; in other words, starting at 30% operating capacity. As you know, in modified GCQ areas, 50% operating capacity is allowed, so this is some kind of preparation for the eventual de-escalation of Metro Manila and similar areas from GCQ to modified GCQ in the near future.”
He stressed the need for restaurants to strictly comply with health and safety standards of social distancing.
This comes a day after Lopez announced that Category 4 businesses—including gyms, indoor sports facilities, and amusement parks—will be allowed to reopen in MGCQ areas.
On Tuesday, fast food giant Jollibee revealed its “new normal” look, including acrylic glass dividers, table and queue markers, increased sanitation checks, and a “Hygiene Ambassador”—a dedicated employee who will make sure both staff and customers are following the health guidelines.