If there’s one thing we miss most about the “outside world” since quarantine started, it would have to be eating out.
Tomorrow marks the first day of the new normal for the metro, as enhanced community quarantine will be lifted in place of general quarantine. Part of the guidelines under GCQ was that restaurants can only operate on a delivery and takeout basis.
However, on May 24, DTI experimented with health protocols for salons and restaurants, which were carefully considered. Earlier today, the department officially released these health protocols and it points to what we can expect from dining at restaurants from now on:
1. A long waiting period at the entrance.
Just like most establishments that currently observe proper health and safety measures, dine-in restaurants would need a thermal scanner to check customers’ temperatures. Those with a temperature of more than 37.5 degrees centigrade or who have a cough, cold, or shortness of breath, will not be allowed inside. The customer also has to fill out a health checklist so the restaurant can trace all customers should the need arise. You could also expect a long line, too, as social distancing will be strictly observed.
2. Minimal contact.
DTI’s guidelines stress the fact that physical contact should be avoided. For restaurants with counter menus (like fast food chains), customers are assigned numbers and have to wait for their turn to approach the counter. For restaurants with table menus, all customers will be assigned a table as well, and the customer and server are required to sanitize their hands after the order is placed or the payment is given.
3. Face-to-face seating is allowed… but there will be “dividers.”
It isn’t clear as to how these “dividers” will look like, but we suspect that their purpose is to prevent any bodily fluids (like saliva or sweat) from coming into contact with the opposite person.
4. No buffets and self-service areas.
You may have already guessed that buffets are now out of the question. But it’s not just the buffet setups that are banned. Self-service areas (like a condiments station) are a thing of a past, too.
5. A cleaner restaurant experience.
The establishment is required to sanitize each seating area/table after customers leave, allowing a cleaning window of 10 minutes. High-contact or high-risk areas and items will be cleaned every 30 minutes. These include door handles, common tables, and counters.
Check out the complete guidelines here.